As the number of young people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes continues to grow, it’s up to parents to turn the tide by adopting healthy habits.
Today, about one third of American youth are overweight, a problem that closely links to the increase in kids with type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1 diabetes, those at risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the onset by managing their weight and increasing physical activity.
How to reduce my child’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes
It’s important for families to make lifestyle changes together to reduce your child’s risk for type 2 diabetes
. There are three important steps you can take.
Give your kids healthy food options
Make low-fat, nutrient-rich foods a part of your family’s regular diet. Whole grain cereals and breads, fruits, veggies, dairy products and lean proteins all help prevent excessive weight gain, which is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Limit sugary foods & beverages
Minimize the sugar-filled foods and drinks – like soda, juice and iced tea – that you keep in the house. These can also lead to excessive weight gain. While treats are ok in moderation, get to know the foods and drinks that your family consumes regularly. Check out this quick guide to reading Nutrition Facts labels
Find physical activities that your kids enjoy
A healthy diet isn’t complete without an active lifestyle. Whether it’s after school sports or taking the dog for a walk every day – activity can help reduce the risk of weight gain and help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. And by doing it together, you have the added benefit of some family bonding time!
Is my child at risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
You can prevent or delay your child getting type 2 diabetes with the tips above, but there are some type 2 diabetes risk factors
that can’t be avoided. They
- Having a family member with type 2 diabetes
- Being born to a mom with gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant)
- Being African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaska Native, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- Having one or more conditions related to insulin resistance
If your child is overweight and has any two of the risk factors listed above, talk to your doctor about getting his or her blood sugar tested.
Cecyleah has lived with type 2 diabetes since she was nine. Watch her MedWatch Today story: