American Diabetes Month

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?

For more information on diabetes, including a free, online risk test, check out the American Diabetes Association.

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