Sunday, December 23, 2012

{Guest Post} Lead By Example To Prevent Diabetes In Kids

Fellow blogger Carolyn writes about her goals for achieving health and balance at Full-On Fit. She has been kind enough to write the following post for this blog. Check out her blog and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Lead By Example To Prevent Diabetes In Kids

Although November was American Diabetes Month, the disease of diabetes is something that should be thought of and worked at to prevent at all times of the year. Until recently, I never have diabetes that much thought in a personal way – but that all changed when one of my little cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes just recently.

According to research from St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 children under the age of 20 are diagnosed with diabetes, and this number continues to be on the rise. As the numbers of children diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes continue to rise, it’s become more apparent to me that I need to work with all of my cousins to get them living healthier lifestyles overall. Being that the 2 main factors of Type 2 Diabetes are unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity, I have been working on both of these aspects with all of my cousins.

A healthy diet
Eating healthy is a big part of preventing diabetes. Parents who eat healthy usually have kids who eat healthy. Many parents don’t realize that they aren’t feeding their children a balanced diet until it’s too late, so the earlier nutritional eating is implemented in the family, the better. The healthy plate strategy should be employed, using more vegetables on the plate than anything else. The smallest portion on the plate should be the starch, which could be potato, rice, pasta or even corn.

Kids can find eating healthier more fun when parents involve them in the process. This means teaching them how to cook, giving them jobs in the kitchen and even letting them go grocery shopping to help determine what will be made (this was probably the biggest reason that I was able to get my cousins to start eating healthier on a regular basis!)

Getting active
The National Institutes of Health has a fact sheet that focuses on diabetes management. They call for physical activity to help control weight. It not only lowers blood glucose levels but it can maintain cardiovascular fitness as well.

Physical activity can consist of anything that gets the heart pumping. This may include bike riding, running, swimming or playing outdoor games. When it’s raining or cold outside, yoga can even be a way to help with the physical activity and maintain an ideal weight.
When children are taught to eat healthy and be more active by those around them, the changes are likely to be permanent. The more I “practice what I preach” the more I notice my cousins following suit. It’s a gradual process – kids don’t change overnight (who does?!), but setting good examples, and being consist with the new lifestyle changes will help to ensure that these changes stick for the long run!

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! 

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