November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

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By:  Alana Busekrus, BSN, RN, CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator)

November is Diabetes Month!  This is a great time to learn some simple tips about Type 2 Diabetes and how you can lower your risk or your kids’ risk of having it.  

Kids with Type 2 Diabetes often:  are overweight, are not physically active enough, have moms or dads or other close relatives with Type 2 Diabetes, are Native Hawaiian, Asian or Asian American, African American, Hispanic, Latino American, or American Indian.

Type 2 Diabetes means that blood sugar, or glucose, is too high.  Glucose comes from the much of the food and drink we consume.  The key to taking care of diabetes is to keep the blood glucose levels as balanced as possible with healthy eating and daily exercise.  Eating less and moving more also balances blood sugar by helping kids and adults get to or maintain a healthy body weight.

Some warning signs of Type 2 Diabetes are:  losing weight without trying, peeing a lot, being very thirsty, feeling tired, or having thick darkened skin on the neck or under the arms.

Want to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes?  

Eat Well!  Usually, this means eating less.  But aim to eat healthy, choosing foods that are as close to nature with as little processing as possible.  

*Snack on nature’s ‘fast food’:  fruit!  

*Include vegetables at every meal.  

*Drink water as often as possible, avoiding sugar sweetened beverages.  

*Eat slowly and wait 15 minutes before eating second helpings.  

*Don’t skip meals—it often results in eating too much later at snack or the next meal.

*Eat together as a family, with mom and dad modeling healthy food choices and portions.

Move More!  Get kids active for at least 60 minutes each day.  It doesn’t have to be all at one time, but the total daily movement should add up to one hour.  

*Help your kid find a muscle movement they enjoy, doing it with a team or solo: dancing, surfing, swimming, martial arts, paddling, running, yoga, biking, skateboarding, ball sports of all kinds!

*Sign up for classes or team sports if your kid needs to learn skills or have support to stay engaged.

*Restrict screen time, ‘forcing’ your child to get moving outside.  Join your kid in running laps around your house or climbing stairs in your apartment building. 

*Walk your neighborhood to a nearby park for quick playtime, or to the store for quick errands. 

Stress Less!  

*Start a joy journal!  Keep a notebook in the car and have a passenger record one ‘thank you’ or expression of gratitude from each rider, each trip. Adding a date to your entries makes this a fun family memory book to reflect back on.

*Make a family bedtime routine that includes stretching & sharing.  As you do a simple stretching routine, share your reflections with each other on the best parts of your day, how you showed kindness, or something new that you learned.

Whether you are a kid or an adult, whether you want to prevent diabetes or need to manage it, these tips will improve your health:  Eat well!  Move more! Stress less!

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