It’s American Diabetes Month, a perfect opportunity to educate your family about this increasingly common disease. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes – the most common form of diabetes that affects the way the body metabolizes glucose (sugar) – can sometimes be prevented. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are factors that put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Be sure to remind your kids of these easy steps that can help reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other associated health problems:
• Make sure kids eat a healthy diet. Encouraging your kids to eat low-fat, nutrient-rich foods, such as whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean proteins, can help prevent excessive weight gain.
• Limit sugary foods and beverages. Consuming lots of sugar-filled foods and beverages, such as sodas, juices, and iced teas, also can lead to excessive weight gain.
• Encourage increased physical activity. Staying active and decreasing the amount of time spent in sedentary activities can also reduce the risk of weight gain and help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Being active can be as simple as walking the dog or mowing the lawn! Try to do something that gets you and your kids moving every day.
If you think your child may be overweight and, therefore, at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you determine what your child’s weight goals should be and how to reach them.
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