Saturday, April 6, 2013

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in Kids :: a guest post ::

My family has always been what I would consider to be fairly health-conscious. Of course there are certain family members who take their health more serious than others, but as a whole, we have been lucky enough to never really have too many serious issues. That all changed last November, which was when one of my youngest cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. We were all shocked, and it made us re-think the way we as a family were going about all of our health and lifestyles.

Information from Syracuse’s St. Joseph’s Cardiac Hospital points to a clear correlation between diabetes and heart disease. As February is National Heart Month, what better time than now to spread awareness about the prevention of diabetes, and to start working together with your family to instill healthy life habits? Below are a few suggestions to consider:

Getting Active

One of the most important ways to prevent diabetes and heart disease is to exercise on a regular basis. For some people, that may not be a big deal because you may already be fairly active. For others, this could be a very big lifestyle change – if so, don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s important to remember to take things one step at a time (no pun intended) and to do different kids of activities which will keep you interested and motivated. A simple activity of just a walk around the neighborhood is way more beneficial to you than an hour in front ot the TV! You can do it!

Running is an activity that most kids love instinctively (especially if they are younger). You can burn off a lot of calories this way and increase your fitness level in the process. Just find a safe area to run, like a local park, or even around your neighborhood.

Swimming is another activity that kids love. It will help build strength, burn calories, and strengthen the heart and lungs. Most health clubs or country clubs have pools available for your use. There are also public pools available in many areas.

Aerobics, etc.
Anything that gets the heart pumping and the child sweating can be counted as aerobics. This helps strengthen the heart, lungs, and builds endurance. Other great aerobic-type activities that my cousins love to do include Yoga, Pilates and Zumba. We have gone to classes together, as well as watched videos and done it at home!

Changing It Up
It’s important to get involved with all kinds of activities – to keep you interested and motivated, and to also change the muscle groups that you’re working. To make sure everyone in the family is exercising, take turns picking the daily activity so everyone feels excited and interested.  

Eating Healthy
A good diet is another essential component in preventing diabetes. Not only does a healthy diet enable someone to be at a healthy weight, it also means that only foods with nutritious value are being ingested, which helps keep a person healthy all around.

Remember these tips:

- Reduce total calories
- Avoid drinks and foods with lots of sugar
- Eat plenty of fiber
- Eat lean protein and meats like turkey, chicken, and salmon
- Avoid eating too many carbs, but if you do eat them, eat the good kind!
- It’s all about portion control – try to stick to this rule when putting food on your plate: ¼ lean protein, ¼ starch/grain, ½ fruit and/or non-starchy veggies.

Here is a great chicken recipe to add on top of a healthy, leafy salad. This meal is tasty and satisfying. It is something you can whip up in just a few minutes. It provides a serving of veggies and lean meat:

- Cut up a chicken breast into strips
- Braise them on each side in olive oil for about 3 minutes over medium heat
- Season with a small amount of salt, pepper, and paprika
- When done, cut the strips into still smaller pieces, and place on top of a healthy salad. Of course, remember to go easy on any fattening dressing or cheese!

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!


Thanks so much Carolyn!  This is SUCH an important message!  Our kids are our future and our responsibility... it's never too soon to instill these eating & exercise habits!

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