3 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes for You and Your Kids

Checking blood sugar, counting carbs, injecting shots of insulin — all this and more are just another part of living with diabetes.

And it’s not just a few people who have to constantly worry about keeping their blood sugar levels just right. In fact, over 30 million people in the US have diabetes, or about 1 in 10 Americans. Not only this, but “another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.” (1)

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes both have genetic factors involved, but type 2 diabetes can actually be prevented. This November is National Diabetes Month, the perfect time to learn how you and your kids can minimize your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Here are a few places to start.

1. Eat Smaller Portions

Eating smaller portions and making healthy food choices can really reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. (2)

A simple way to control your portion sizes is using the “plate method.” For a 9-inch plate, half of the plate should be non-starchy vegetables, a quarter should be protein such as meat or beans, and a quarter should be a grain or starch (3). 

image borrowed from Create Your Plate

This method can also help people who are already either prediabetic or diabetic. You can experiment with different food combinations on the American Diabetes Association’s interactive website, Create Your Plate (4).

2. Stay Active

Getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week can do a lot to help prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes (5). Help your kids stay active by finding fun activities to enjoy together, whether it’s playing catch or going for a walk.

image borrowed from UK blog Public Health Matters

You can also find ways to get moving more throughout the day by doing simple things like taking the stairs or having a “movement break” at work (6).

3. Drink Water

Switching out your soda, juice, or sports drink for a glass of water can do a lot to lower your overall sugar intake. This will help you maintain a healthier weight and reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes (7).

Research also shows that drinking enough water helps control blood sugar levels, which also can help prevent or control diabetes (8).

Healthy and Happy

In a time when so many Americans are at risk for diabetes, you can do a lot to help yourself and your kids. While a lot of factors are involved in developing diabetes, much of it is dependent upon having a healthy weight and lifestyle.

By establishing healthy eating, drinking, and exercise habits today, you can help your kids be healthy and happy in the future!

For more information:


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References

1. November: American diabetes month. (n.d.). Retrieved from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website: https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/NovemberToolkit.aspx

2. Preventing type 2 diabetes. (2016, November). Retrieved from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-type-2-diabetes

3. Diabetes diet, eating, & physical activity. (2016, November). Retrieved from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity

4. Create your plate. (2016, September 14). Retrieved from American Diabetes Association website: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate/

5. American Heart Association recommendations for physical activity in adults. (2016, July 27). Retrieved from American Heart Association website:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WeaOwWhSyM8

6-7. Your game plan to prevent type 2 diabetes. (2017, February). Retrieved from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-type-2-diabetes/game-plan

8. Roussel, R., Fezeu, L., Bouby, N., Balkau, B., Lantieri, O., Alhenc-Gelas, Fr., Marre, M., & Bankir, L. (2011, December). Low water intake and risk for new-onset hyperglycemia. Diabetes Care, 34(12), 2551-2554. Retrieved from http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/12/2551

9. Choose more than 50 ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. (2014, September). Retrieved from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-type-2-diabetes/50-ways

Picture retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/diabetes-blood-sugar-diabetic-528678/.

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