November is American Diabetes Month. Why should you care? According to the American Diabetes Association:
- Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, including 7 million who don’t know it.
- Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes.
What puts you at risk for developing diabetes?
- You are overweight.
- A parent, brother or sister has diabetes.
- You are African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Islander.
- You had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds or had gestational diabetes.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have low HDL (good cholesterol).
- You have high triglycerides.
Parents, and even grandparents or other family members have a unique and essential role in building habits that will help keep families healthy for a lifetime. Diabetes prevention starts now. Whether your kids are in diapers or learning to drive, you can model and enforce good nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle choices. Here are a few steps you can take today:
- Choose water: during sports, on hot days, for lunch and snack-times, skip high-calorie sugary drinks and go for water instead.
- Move more: take family walks after dinner, go for a bike ride, play sports, or enjoy all of the outdoor activities your area has to offer.
- Involve kids in meal planning and food shopping and prep: the more invested they are in what they eat, the more likely they are to make healthy choices, now and as they grow.
- Talk about why it’s important to eat nutritious foods most of the time: by explaining that nutritious food fuels a strong, smart, healthy body, and high-fat, sugary junk food makes a body feel tired, sluggish and sick, kids understand the impact of their choices, rather than just thinking you are a mean mom for saying no to their favorite treats.
Diabetes is a nasty disease–one that can attack multiple areas of the body, and make life challenging in many ways. Why not do what you can to prevent it now?