Did you know, type 2 diabetes is running rampant in our country? Not only in adults but it is a real epidemic in children ages 10-18 years old. Out of that 60% are young girls. What is going on?
One of the major players of diabetes 2 is being over weight. Unfortunately, for most, the parents are also over weight and don’t take the disease seriously. How many people do you know have said, “we’re big boned”, “we are happy when we eat”. “She’s just growing”? It’s after the diabetes turns into something serious where Drs. recommend medications that some parents actually take diabetes seriously. By that time, it can be too late. Kids with diabetes 2 tend to have a faster and more severe progression of diabetes-related complications. By the age of 21, kids with type 2 diabetes can have at least one of the following complications: diabetic kidney disease, retinopathy (serious eye problems), peripheral neuropathy (painful nerve damage mainly in the hands and feet), arterial stiffness, or hypertension (high blood pressure).
So? What can we do about helping our children? I know it’s hard to look in that sweet face and deny them another cupcake or helping of potatoes and gravy, but, who said parenting was easy? The best way to help your children is to get the whole family involved. Let’s face it, how would you like sitting at the table watching everyone eat favorites like mac and cheese, potatoes and gravy, pies and cakes and then tell you, you can’t have any because it will make you sick!
Once the family is involved, you need to not necessarily get rid of the high carbs but control how much you eat. The best way to find out how you can feed your child would be to chat with a registered dietitian. They can make excellent recommendations for a healthy diet. If you can’t get in touch with a RD, the next best thing is to use the MyPlate to figure out portions. MyPlate will tell you to fill 1/2 of your plate with fresh fruits and a variety of vegetables, 1/4 of the plate will have whole grains, brown rice, bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, tortillas and grits are examples. The other 1/4 of your plate will be filled with lean meats such as, red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, to mention a few. Also remember to drink or eat low fat or skim milk, yogurt, or cheese.
I know this change won’t be easy especially if you are use to grabbing a burger, fries, and soda or ordering pizza when dealing with a hectic schedule, but, in the long run, your children and YOU will become healthy and that cuts down on Dr. visits!
Also remember to get out and exercise. Diet alone won’t lose those unwanted pounds. Take an evening stroll after supper. Let the kids go roller skating, swimming, playing football in the park, challenge them in a game of basketball…anything to get them moving!!
Of course, kids being kids, might not understand what is happening to them and introducing new foods all at once can be overwhelming. Just try to cut out one or two “bad” things and introduce a new fruit or vegetable. They may just enjoy the change and in a few years, when they realize you saved them from the possibility of going blind or having kidney disease….they will THANK YOU!!
Good luck on your start to better health!!