I am delighted to be posting a guest post today from Carolyn about childhood diabetes. After reading Carolyn’s post I have looked into diabetes in the UK and it appears it is on the rise also. The National Heart Forum says there were 2.6m cases of diagnosed diabetes in 2009 which is projected to increase to more than 4m by 2025 due to an ageing population and if rates of overweight and obesity continue to rise unchecked. Nine out of ten of cases in the UK are type 2 diabetes.
I think there are important points in Carolyn’s post for us all to consider for ourselves and our children. It is probably not an illness that cross many of our minds in respect of it happening to our children but I think it is an important illness to consider and, as Carolyn points out, it is preventable with diet and exercise….
In the U.S., November was American Diabetes Month. In previous years I wouldn’t have paid much attention to this, but this year, my little cousin was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and therefore November’s awareness month meant a lot to me. Once considered a disease of adults only, Type 2 Diabetes is increasing in prevalence among children in the United States.
Unlike Type I Diabetes where the causes are not as well understood, Type 2 Diabetes has several clear risk factors; obesity and a lack of physical exercise are the two most prominent risk factors. A lack of physical exercise tends to contribute to obesity, which is the single largest risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes in children. The National Diabetes Education Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, has a forum that explains lots of helpful information about Type 2 Diabetes, which was very helpful for me when I started research on this disease soon after my cousin was diagnosed with it.
Preventing Diabetes Through Proper Nutrition
Parents and children can work together to arrive at a healthier diet that helps lower the risk of diabetes. Parents of young kids will have to make the majority of the healthy eating decisions for their children. However, it doesn’t have to be a struggle all of the time. A healthy diet for growing children that helps prevent diabetes can include fun snacks like ants on a log (celery sticks with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese and raisins) or healthy meals like baked ziti made with whole grain pasta, nonfat cottage cheese and part-skim mozzarella.
Diabetes research shows that there are four key changes that can be made in a person’s diet to decrease their risk of diabetes.These are:
– reducing consumption of red and processed meat
*instead: choose lean meat options, like turkey, chicken,
fish, and small amounts of lean cuts of red meat
– reducing consumption of sugary drinks
* instead: give kids low-fat milk to still build their bones, or
take water and put veggies or fruit in to add some flavor
– eating more whole grains: pasta, breads, crackers, etc.
– choosing unsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats
Preventing Diabetes Through Physical Activity
Young kids are naturally eager to exercise in most cases (well, maybe not exercise, but they do like to be active in games). Parents can encourage this instinct by providing plenty of opportunities to run around and play. If you can’t keep up with your kids, outdoor play dates with other kids are a great way to let them tire themselves out.
Older children and teens may take more convincing. Classes such as yoga or pilates and sports teams can be fun ways for older kids and teens to get and stay active. It may take a few tries to find something that interests your child but most kids will find something they like if they are allowed to choose the activity. It also helps at viewing it as a “game or activity” rather than labeling it as exercise.”
Healthy Now, Healthy Later
Kids whose parents focus on proper prevention care will carry that with them their entire lives. I never knew how serious diabetes was until I started researching about it. According to Syracuse’s St. Joseph’s Cardiac Center, consequences of diabetes can include things such as eye problems or blindness, heart disease, stroke, and more. I don’t want my cousin to ever face these issues, and it’s through the proper care we are taking now that we can make sure she never has to.
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/!