Children with Diabetes: Helping them Cope, Giving them Care – Part 2

September 12th, 2010

Play hard everyday!

We know that Type 2 diabetes is closely related to overweight and obesity, and you can reduce your child’s risk for type 2 diabetes by helping the child make a change in diet and physical activity. 

The best way to encourage your child to eat well and get exercise is to model the behavior yourself. The more your child sees you engaged in healthy behaviors, the more likely the child is to follow your footsteps—in this case, lifesaving footsteps.  In addition, you must teach your child and assist the child with the following lifestyle practices that will help keep the child’s weight in check:

  • Don’t inhale. Tell your child to eat slowly and enjoy each bite of food.  Have him wait at least 15 minutes before getting seconds to give his stomach time to tell the brain that he is no longer hungry.
  • Don’t skip meals. Encourage your child to eat three solid meals daily. 
  • Limit fast foods and pizza to once or twice a week. If you’re going out, pack a healthy lunch or snack instead of resorting to the drive through.
  • Serve healthy snacks. Canned fruit is better than a package of cookies, but a piece of fresh fruit is the best bet.
  • Eat your veggies. Fill your child’s plate—and your own–with vegetables and salad.
  • Serve fewer fried and high-fat starches. Limit biscuits, corn bread, pancakes, or waffles.
  • Drink water instead of soda, Kool-aid or fruit drinks. Active kids need water to stay hydrated and an acne-prone teen will notice the difference in her skin.
  • Being physically active is just as important as eating well. Teach your child to get more exercise by giving them these tips:
    • Play hard for at least one hour every day.  It can be 10 sweaty minutes here and 20 minutes there, as long as it adds up to 60 minutes over the course of the day.
    • Do activities that you like to do. Ride a bike, dance, play ball or shoot hoops.
    • Try out for school sports teams or join neighborhood ball games.
    • If you aren’t used to working up a sweat, start off slow and don’t get upset if you can’t go for long.  The more you try the longer you will be able to go.
    • Watch television, play video games or work on the computer for no more than two hours each day—preferably less.
    • Participate in family activities that require movement, such as skating, swimming or basketball.

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