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[Guest Post] Happy Holidays Include Diabetes Prevention

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Recently, my family was struck by the news that my young cousin suffers from Type 2 Diabetes. I was shocked, angry and sad; but what I had to do became clear. Type 2 Diabetes affects a rising number of children under the age of 20, in fact, according to St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 of today’s kids is diagnosed with diabetes! That’s a scary statistic, and it’s supposedly growing…

After some further research, I found some good news: it can be prevented with careful attention to diet and exercise right from one’s home. My cousin could be treated with these same techniques, and my entire family could benefit from greater awareness. We navigated through November, which was American Diabetes Month, gathering information and raising awareness about Type 2 Diabetes in children. Now the holidays are upon us. What will we do to maintain the ground we have gained?

Modern holiday celebrations don’t seem particularly conducive to preventing a disease caused by inactivity and weight gain. Consuming eggnog and Christmas cookies while sitting on the couch playing computer games certainly won’t help, but with kids already on winter break from school, some healthy activities are easy to incorporate into holiday celebrations.

Easy Activities Right at Home
kids playing in snow
photo credit
Every kid and (most) adults know that the best part about winter break is no homework. This means kids have more time to run off excess energy. Some lucky kids live in chilly climates where seasonal snowfalls will provide unique exercise opportunities such as sledding, snowball fights or building snow forts. Kids in warmer climates can still participate in outdoor exercise using bikes, skates, scooters and more to spin around the neighborhood. With everyone home from school for a couple of weeks, this might be a great time to organize a neighborhood game of kick the can, kickball or capture the flag (we have done this a lot this fall, and the kids looove it!)

Eating Healthy at Home, Too 
Parents need to provide extra careful guidance in helping their children make healthy eating choices over the holidays. Don’t eliminate sweets altogether unless you have a doctor’s order to do so, but help kids have fun with festive fruits and snacks lower in sugar and saturated fat. Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they’re involved in preparing the healthy dishes. Add some fun to fruit salads by making animal creations from seasonal fruits, or adding it to some yummy frozen yogurt or smoothies!

With the kids home from school over the holidays, there are plenty of opportunities to help them make healthy choices. Preventing Type 2 Diabetes is much easier than fighting it once you have a diagnosis, and doing it together, as a family will help ensure that everyone is benefitting from a healthier overall lifestyle! 

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!


Cheap Is The *New* Classy said...

One in three kids gets diagnosed with Diabetes. Oh my gosh. I would never have imagined that many! :(


Ellen said...

Great suggestions. My husband has diabetes so we really try to focus on healthy eating.

Suburban Style Challenge said...

I don't have kids, but these are really interesting facts and great tips regardless. I love the idea of doing a neighborhood kickball game... reminds me of when we were kids and we'd get together to play street hockey, tag, squirtgun fights, or massive games of hide and seek. So much fun! I feel like now kids don't do that as much as we used to...

Shelley Zurek -- Still Blonde after all these YEARS said...

1 in three seems ridiculously high, doesn't it? If this is true, much more focus must be placed upon it!

Unknown said...

That is so sad that all 3 of them have diabetes. I don't have any experience with diabetes, other than pregnancy diabetes.

Mama Up! said...

This kind of thing terrifies me... what are today's parents doing?? This should be common sense!

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