No more Type 2 diabetes for kids in the new year (guest post) - Our Daily Green

Monday, January 21, 2013

No more Type 2 diabetes for kids in the new year (guest post)


Today's post is brought to us from Carolyn from Full on Fit! 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. We welcome her wealth of information to Our Daily Green. 
diabetes symptoms
By Mikael Häggström via Wikimedia Commons
November was American Diabetes Month, and normally I wouldn't have paid too much attention to it, but this past November was much different. This year, I was active with a walkathon to promote awareness. Why the change? Because the issue has become personal.

This past November, ironically, one of my younger cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I couldn't believe it – she’s only 13! I was shocked when we found out, but according to her doctors, there are many kids her age who are now being diagnosed with this disease. Even worse, according to information from St. Joseph’s Cardiac Center in Syracuse, NY, if diabetes is left untreated, it can turn into such things as eye problems or blindness, heart disease, and even amputation!

I started reading more information on the internet to figure out ways we could prevent the rest of my cousins and family members from developing Type 2, and the results were unanimous: eat healthier and exercise. Simple in theory, but difficult to always carry out for some of our family members. Which is why on this New Year's Eve, we all made a New Year's resolution together: no more Type 2 Diabetes in this family. All we had to do was make some simple changes.

Eating Properly

The first thing my family decided to do was overhaul their kitchens. Based on some great tips from kidshealth.org, the bottles of soda and sugary juices were dumped. I suggested keeping a jug of ice water in the fridge at all times; and now the kids like to add lemon or cucumbers for some added flavor.  My aunt also keeps a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge, although my uncle does add non-sugar sweeteners for flavor.

The next order of business was to get rid of sugary snacks and junk food. The fridge was filled with veggies, fresh fruits, nuts, yogurt, and low-fat cheese sticks. Low-sugar cereal was set on the shelf for a healthy snack. Whole grain bread and pasta were next.
Here are some of our favorite main dishes we have been making:
- Sweet potato-turkey meatloaf
- black bean veggie burgers
- Moroccan Tagine – a stew we serve over brown rice
Everyone is finally making better choices together – of course, it does help that we are all on board to support one another!

Exercise

Being regularly active is extremely important to avoid Type 2 Diabetes. My cousins would often get home from school and immediately go sit inside, watching television or playing video games for most of the night. Now was the time for a change. I sat down and made a list of fun things my family members could do together. Here’s a few of our favorite activities:

- walking the dogs in the local park or around the neighborhood
 after dinner
- going for nature hikes in the woods
- swimming at the local college’s pool
- going skiing or sledding (we live in a snowy climate)
- making obstacle courses and scavenger hunts
- practicing Yoga and Pilates together
- having silly dance competitions
- roller-skating or ice skating

Each weekend we try to all get together as much as we can and try a new activity. We take turns picking out the activity, which makes people much more willing to try things they may not want to, but since everyone gets a chance to pick it makes it fair. We have also bonded more as a family, and I am hoping that one day we can look back on this time – the time we were all fighting together to get my cousin healthy again – and see it as a blessing in disguise. Until that time comes, we will keep on working together as a family… like families should.


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