November was American Diabetes month, but for our family, Diabetes awareness is now a year-round thing. Back in November (ironic, I know), our family was shocked to find out that my little cousin was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes – I didn’t even know young teenagers could have Type 2!
After doing some research I found out that it is actually increasingly prevalent in today’s kids – so much so that kids are the fastest-growing population for Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, according to information from St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 of today’s kids are diagnosed as obese, with a majority of them also carrying a Type 2 diagnosis as well! In order to get my cousin, as well as my other cousins and family members to a healthier place, we decided as a family to make it a New Years Resolution to get healthier this year. If you want to help your family prevent Type 2 Diabetes, consider making it a New Year’s resolution too. Here are some ways you can prevent your child from developing diabetes this year.
Limit Sugary Beverages
Most kids love sugary beverages, such as soda and apple juice, but these sweet drinks are not very healthy. They are filled with sugar and calories, which can lead to excessive weight gain. Try to keep these beverages out of the house and encourage your child to drink water and milk (*note: with water, add some fruit or cut-up cucumbers for flavor, and for milk, try to use the most low-fat version that your child’s doctor OK’s).
Teach Your Child How to Eat Healthy
These days, many children don’t know how to eat healthy, so it’s important for parents and older family members to be the role models and to also teach about healthy nutrition. Introduce your child to nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Tell them that these foods will keep them healthy and prevent them from developing diseases like diabetes. Menu plans from EatRight Ontario were particularly helpful when we first changed out eating habits.
Exercise With Your Child
Instead of running around outside, many children watch hours of television and play video games all hours of the day and night. Leading such a sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain. That is why it is so important to encourage physical activities and do exercises with your child. For example, you can walk your dog with your child around the neighborhood or go on a bike ride. You can also consider taking an exercise class at the gym with your child such as yoga, Pilates, or Zumba!
Type 2 Diabetes in kids can be scary to think about, but it can be prevented. Teaching your child now how to eat healthy and encourage them to exercise will lead them to develop healthy habits that they can carry with them long into their adult lives!
Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!