Kids and Diabetes: How to Protect Your Family From All That Sugar

April 23, 2013  |  

Easter was just a few days ago, and while we enjoyed the meaning of the holiday, our families and the great dinner, moms everywhere found themselves pretty concerned about their kids consuming too much Easter candy, yes our kids and diabetes. The thing is, it’s not just the habits their habits on this one day of the year that are the problem; it’s the habits they exhibit year round.  What do we let our kids eat?  What do they drink?  How active are they? Are we exhibiting the right habits ourselves?

Today, diabetes is a concern that many parents have, and children are developing the disease at higher rates and at ages far younger than ever before. According to the American Diabetes Association, the number of children, especially African American and Latino children, living with type 2 diabetes has increased in recent years. Fueled by the obesity epidemic, type 2 diabetes is having a serious impact on our children’s lives.

As parents, we all can do our part to help our little ones live healthier lives and avoid developing a disease that’s preventable. Here are five things we can do to help our kids live a health life free of diabetes.

Change how your family sees food. Kids want to have fun. They want food that seems like fun, too.  Let your kids help with dinner (and turn some music on while you cook), use fruits and vegetables to add color to your meals, and establish family expectations.  Go ahead and enjoy pizza night, but think about making the pizza as a family, and let the kids know that having pizza also means enjoying a salad with it.   

Make physical activity a requirement. Kids need to move.  Limit their time indoors, encourage them to play a sport they like and limit their time watching TV and planning video games.  You can also spend some time dancing as a family every night.  It’s a great way to bond, have fun and burn calories.

Limit sweets.  Having sweets occasionally if fine, but many of our kids are eating way too much sugar.  Limit candy, make water fun by putting fresh fruit in it, and make dessert a special treat instead of a daily thing.  Also, try to get your kids hooked on fruit.  It satisfies their sweet tooth, but it’s a lot healthier than baked goods.

Avoid eating in front of the TV often. When you eat while watching television, you really are not paying attention to what goes in your mouth and it’s tougher to detect when you are full.  When your kids eat, try to place them in an environment that allows them to focus on their food and their level of hunger.  Eating while watching a show or a movie is fine, but it can become a problem if it’s how they eat their meals everyday.

Get your own health in order. The days of “do as I say and not as I do,” are kind of over.  If you want your kids to make healthy choices you have to make them too.  Eat well, exercise and put your health first.  You are their role model, so they will naturally want to live the way that you do.

 

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Martine Foreman is the editor and co-founder of JustDiva, a lifestyle email publication for today’s Modern Black Woman. To follow her funny and candid take on balancing life as a wife, mom and entrepreneur, you can also check out her personal blog, CandidBelle.

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