Just a few months ago my family found out that one of my younger cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. We were shocked. She has been struggling with her weight for some time, but I never realized how serious it had gotten. After talking with her doctors, and doing some of my own research, I found out that she wasn’t alone – children are now the fastest-growing population for Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis!
Information from Syracuse’s St. Joseph’s Cardiac Hospital provides the clear connection that diabetes has with other serious illnesses, such as heart disease. Since February is National Heart Month, what better time than now to start working together as a family to protect your own loved ones from this disease? Here are a few tips that my own family has found helpful in our own journey to get my cousin better, and prevent anyone else from Type 2:
Because it is so hard to detect Type 2 Diabetes in children, it is important that you get your kids checked out by their physician early, and regularly. A simple blood test can tell whether they have Type 2, and will give you the best chance at managing it if it does become a problem you have to face.
It’s important to eat healthy. Obesity is the major cause of Type 2 Diabetes, so by controlling what is put into our body, we can help prevent the condition from affecting someone in our family. The first step in this is to control the kinds of foods that are in the home.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- refrain from fried foods and fatty foods
- avoid foods high in sodium, calories, carbohydrates
- stay away from white breads, enriched white flour and pasta, etc.
- center your meals around lean meat, nuts, vegetables, fruits and whole grain breads, pastas, etc.
- if it’s possible, purchase organic foods
- bake or grill your lean meats as much as possible
The good news is that you don’t have to give up your favorite meals just because you are eating healthier. Diabetic Lifestyle provides some great comfort food recipes that are also diabetic-friendly!
If your family is on a strict routine, it can be hard to find time for exercise. The best way to incorporate daily exercise is to make it a priority, just like meal times, bath times, doing homework, etc. Exercise doesn’t have to be a 1-hr long activity every night either of straight running. Be creative!
Here are some things we like to do, and here are some additional ideas to consider too:
- family walks or bike rides after dinner
- swimming at the local college pool
- going on a nature hike in the nearby woods
- obstacle courses/scavenger hunts in the neighborhood
- ice skating, cross-country/downhill skiing & snowball fights
- getting a big group of people together to play soccer, kickball, tag, capture-the-flag, red-rover, etc.
- Yoga, Zumba & Pilates videos
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/