Sunday, February 10, 2013

Guest Post - Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Guest post by Carolyn at Full-On Fit:
How You can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Your Family

Family Unit
This past November was American Diabetes Month, and it was a special time for me. See, my young cousin was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I didn't think it was something that could hit so close to home, especially because she is so young (only 13!) I thought the doctors must have been wrong, but after many doctor visits, I found out that Type 2 Diabetes, formally called adult-onset diabetes, is now affecting many young people. What’s even scarier is what Diabetes could lead to; according to St. Joseph’s Cardiac Hospital of Syracuse, if diabetes is left untreated, it can lead to such things as heart disease, neurological problems, and even amputation.

In order to be able to help my little cousin, and prevent my other family members from developing this disease, we decided as a family to learn more about the disease and what we could do to prevent/manage it. Here are some tips that you and your family can use as well:

Blood Test
Early detection
Something we did not do…It’s important to schedule frequent doctor visits to help detect early signs of Type 2 Diabetes. It can be hard for doctors to diagnose this condition in children because kids usually don't display any signs or symptoms, so doctors don't think to do the proper blood tests that can detect Type 2 Diabetes – so stay on them!!

For the most part, Type 2 Diabetes is directly correlated with obesity. Therefore, the healthier your diet is, better the chance you have of preventing Type 2. One thing that we noticed that was very helpful for us was to decide as a family to start eating healthier. Deciding to change our lifestyle habits as a unit made people more likely to accept it and stay with it for the long-term.

One of the first steps is to get the junk food and unhealthy foods out of the house. Clean out the cupboards and the refrigerator – donate the unused foods if you choose, but it’s important to get the bad stuff out of the house so it isn’t a temptation.

There are many great foods that can be eaten and cooked so that children can [grow to} like eating healthy. Here are some basic foods/principles my cousin has to stick to, and that our family is also sticking to as wells:

Mashed Cauliflower
- whole wheat products: bread, rice, pasta, etc.
- lean meats: chicken, turkey, salmon, and lean cuts of pork
- no white sugar or salty snacks
- baked meat and “French fires” instead of fried
- lots of fruits and vegetables

A few favorite recipes:
- low-carb chicken pizza
- Italian ranch turkey burger
- cauliflower mashed “potatoes”
- maple scrambled eggs with turkey-bacon

Exercise is very important to help prevent diabetes. The great thing is that it’s still the beginning of the New Year, so what better time than now to make resolutions as a family to start exercising more?! You don't have to go to the gym and perform strenuous exercises with your kids; there are plenty of fun exercises you can do right in your own neighborhood! Here are a few of our favorite activities:

Toddler Yoga
- bike rides and nature hikes in the neighborhood and neighboring forest
- neighborhood games of soccer, kickball, tag, capture-the-flag, etc.
- swimming at the pool at the local college
- practicing Zumba and Yoga
- having silly dance competitions with my nieces
- going sledding, skiing and ice skating now that it’s snowing

More than ever before, it is extremely important to stay healthy as a family. Making healthy activities and foods a normal part of your family this year will ensure that your kids are less likely to develop Type 2, and are also being taught how to make healthy habits that can last them a lifetime!

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 Full-On Fit!

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