The New Year is often a time of resolutions. Many of us resolve to eat better or to exercise more. Others resolve to attend church more regularly or to volunteer more often. My guest blogger today encourages us to think about how we can be proactive and prevent Type 2 Diabetes in our children in the New Year. Thanks so much for bringing up a very important subject and sharing your insight with us Carolyn!
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in the New Year
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes became a mission last year, and it's the same resolution for my family in 2013. My little cousin has had weight issues for some time, and was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Last November, during American Diabetes Month, it became clear that more than just adults are susceptible to this chronic illness. In fact, according to information from St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 kids is diagnosed with obesity, with a large majority of them also carrying a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis! For my other cousins and family, this was a big wake up call (and honestly, to me as well!). We needed to eat better, exercise more and do things as a family to really help pull my young cousin out of a dangerous unhealthy path.
The Diabetes Diet: Don't Call It That
Well it's not necessarily so much as a diet as it is not eating bad food and replacing what you used to eat with tons of healthy vegetables and protein. My family realized it was important to set an example of healthy eating for all the little ones in the family, so we started by cooking and eating healthy meals together.
My little cousin doesn't respond well to broccoli, but there are creative ways to cook things that make it delicious. For example, cauliflower puree looks like mashed potatoes and you can make it taste just as great with a little butter and garlic. In moderation, this is a great recipe for finicky children who love starches and sugar. It’s also really important to incorporate lots of non-starchy vegetables into the meal, such as spinach, mushrooms and peppers. In addition, lean protein is also great for preventing or managing diabetes. Meat needs to be grilled, but you should also look at vegan and vegetarian sources of protein as too much meat isn't necessarily good for kids either because of the fat content. Stick to lean sirloin meats, tofu, tempeh, soy or other protein sources that will excite your kid and that you want to try as a family.
Exercising with Little Ones
Kids shouldn't have trouble burning energy, but some do. That's totally okay if they love the indoors and they're whizzes with computers or love video games. However, they need to get active in some way. Knowing where to start is key.
For some kids, it's as easy as buying a game like Dance Dance Revolution or any of the Wii Fit games. For others, you need to do things again as a family. Sports games, scavenger hunts, musical chairs, tag and other fun things with family can make exercise not seem like exercise. For those kids who are already overweight, you may need low impact exercises like stretching, yoga, weight lifting and light movement activities such as swimming!
These are great ideas Carolyn! It seems to me like making some small changes can make some big differences in our children. Thank you so much for taking time to share your personal experience with Type 2 Diabetes with us!
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/!