It has become my new journey in life to lead a healthy lifestyle as much as I can. Although I don’t have personal experience with Type II Diabetes, one of my little cousins is going through testing right now to see if she does, and that’s a scary thought for me. Being that November is American Diabetes Month, and the fact that my little cousin may be affected by this horrible disease, I thought it would be helpful to write about the epidemic that is occurring, and what parents and loved ones can do to try and prevent their children from developing Type II Diabetes too.
Many new reports have shown that the number of Type 2 Diabetes cases in children is rapidly growing. The number of children taking medication for Type II Diabetes doubled between 2002 and 2005, especially for older children. The rise in childhood obesity is also a problem for people all over the world, but particularly for American families. As healthy technology advances, children have been receiving earlier diagnosis for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Proper diabetes care now will reduce a child’s risk of developing heart disease later in their life. It’s helpful to know there are some preventative measures that parents can do to help kids avoid this terrible disease, while also making the experience fun and educational along the way.
Dance, Skip, Run, Play
Kids have to be active, whether they love sports or just like playing outside on the playground. Recent studies showed that exercising 30 minutes a day allowed patients to lose 5 to 10 percent body weight and had better results than drugs given to treat Type II Diabetes. Physical activity is the best way to control blood glucose as well as blood pressure and weight, which are all related to diabetes. You can start kids off with low impact exercises like resistance training and yoga, as well as use rhythmic dance, swimming and Zumba fitness as a fun way for kids who are struggling to lose weight to exercise.
Lead the Way
It’s really important for parents have to set the example for kids with exercising and eating right. If there are other kids in the family and adults in the house, everyone has to eat the same thing and keep to a healthy diet. Many kids see this as “fair,” but it’s also just setting a bar for kids and doing something with kids so that they don’t feel alone. Cooking and nutrition education should be apart of every day life. To make things fun, try new recipes with each other, make smoothies together, and look for ways to spend time around good food.
Teach Kids a Better Way
You can also empower kids through knowledge about what they are eating. For example, why do kids love Mac & Cheese so much? It’s cheese and sugar, and not the good kind. Parents need to read labels and teach kids about the chemicals in foods. The food industry spends a lot of time researching about what makes kids tick and why they love junk food. Spend some time teaching kids about what to eat and also showing them that you want to eat good as well. If you are sneaking chocolate while they’re eating a carrot, it won’t work–same goes if you eat the processed junk food with lots of sugar inside.
For Kids Already Overweight
It’s important to recognize when kids are already in over their heads. If a child is already overweight with an obese BMI or they experience issues related to diabetes, it’s time to seek professional help. Parents need to encourage kids to stick to a healthy eating schedule with limited sugary snacks and lots of activity. Making this a family initiative will help the child feel that they are not alone in the battle, and will help to lead to an overall healthier lifestyle for all family members. Starting out healthy habits as soon as possible allows for children to sustain a healthy lifestyle well 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 known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.