Diabetes was never something that I personally worried about, and it wasn’t until my little cousin was going through testing for Type II Diabetes that I started to really pay attention to the disease, and to understand the serious consequences that come with it. Diabetes is a serious disease that affects millions of people each year including children. The only way to free our country of this disease is to raise awareness about it. November is American Diabetes Month, so it is more important than ever to promote knowledge of this illness.
Type II Diabetes used to be a disease that mainly affected adults, however it is now affecting children at an extremely high rate. In fact, nearly 200,000 people under the age of 20 have diabetes. Children are more likely to develop Type II Diabetes if they are overweight and inactive. Carrying excess weight increases the chance of insulin resistance, which is a main cause of diabetes. While there are factors that are uncontrollable when it comes to Type II Diabetes, obesity and lack of exercise are the two biggest controllable factors, which is why it’s so important to understand them and practice preventative habits.
The fact that so many children are developing Type II Diabetes is disheartening. They are still so young and have to deal with this terrible disease that can be life-threatening – many people don’t realize that the
longer a person has diabetes, the more risk they have of developing heart disease when they are older. This is why parents have to step up and do everything they can to prevent their children from developing
diabetes. In addition to encouraging healthy eating habits, parents should motivate their children to stay active. Exercising at least 30 minutes a day can greatly reduce your child’s risk of developing diabetes. There are many activities that will allow kids to get the aerobic exercise they need without it feeling like they are actually exercising.
Here are tips on how you can help your child stay active so that he can avoid obesity and diabetes.
Yoga: Calm-Inducing and Demanding Activity All in One
Yoga is not just for adults; children can also enjoy this relaxing exercise. Doing yoga exercises will not just keep your child fit, but it will also improve his mood, increase his flexibility and improve joint health.
Think about attending a parent-child yoga class at your local health club with your child. Once you two learn all the different yoga moves, you can do the exercises in your home – either through memory or by following along to yoga videos!
Hiking through Nature
Your child is more likely to enjoy exercise if you choose a physical activity they enjoy. For example, you can go on a nature hike with them the next time the weather is nice. During the nature hike, your child can burn calories and see all sorts of different trees, flowers and animals. They can also collect different rocks and leaves on the way and make a collage with them when you get back home!
Get Your Groove On!
A fun way to help your child stay fit is to have a dance competition in your living room. Encourage them to invite a few of their friends over and compete against one another. Each child has a certain amount of time to dance to upbeat music. Once they are all done, choose the one who danced the best, silliest, etc.
Thinking about your child developing diabetes can be scary, but encouraging them to exercise on a regular basis, along with a healthy, nutritional diet, can significantly reduce their risk of developing the disease. It is scary for me to think of my little cousin having diabetes, particularly because of all the consequences that come with the disease. Taking a preventative approach with her now will hopefully prevent the development of heart disease and other illnesses later on in her life. In my attempt to get her on the right track of a healthy lifestyle, as well as my other cousins, I have started to implement activity days each week in which we try some form of activity that keeps us moving – we did the dance party, took the nature hike, played paintball, organized a neighborhood-wide kickball game, and are going to continue this so it becomes a lifelong habit for all of them.
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 known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/