Being active is not only good for you, it’s important for the children and teens in your life as well! Our bodies benefit when we’re active, especially if we have diabetes. Being active can help you feel better, reduce stress, keep your weight and blood sugar (blood glucose) levels in a healthy range, and increase your energy level. You sleep better, too.
As more and more youth become overweight and less active, type 2 diabetes once only seen in adults over 40 – is now being found in teens. You can play a key role by helping the children and teens in your life lower their risk for type 2 diabetes, especially if the disease runs in your family. Children and teens can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes if they stay at a healthy weight by being more active and choosing to eat the right amounts of healthy foods.
There are many ways you can be more active with the children and teens in your life.
Play music and share some of your own dance steps. Take a walk together, or ride bikes. How about walking the dog, doing yard work, or planting a garden together? Why not go swimming at the local pool or plan a date to go bowling? These are fun activities that families of all ages can enjoy.
Is your child or grandchild involved in school or community sports, such as basketball, golf, soccer, or tennis? Try to attend as many of the games as you can and show your support. Find out the game dates, and mark your calendar. Praise your teen for getting involved and the importance of staying active.
Learn more about events in your area. Are there any walks planned in your neighborhood? Perhaps there is a hike at a nearby park. You could also visit a local museum or zoo. These are great ways to be active as a family while having fun and meeting new people. Don’t forget to dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Pack a small cooler or backpack of healthy snacks such as fresh or dried fruit, sliced raw vegetables, and nonfat or low-fat yogurt. Also, pack a few bottles of water instead of soda or juice.
The diabetes educators at your local health department are ready to help you take the first steps to prevent as well as manage diabetes – just call the local health department and ask to speak to the diabetes educator! You may also find more information on our website at www.lcdhd.org/diabetes/ or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LCDHD or Twitter: www.twitter.com/LCDHD.
The National Diabetes Education Program has a free tip sheet, Tips for Teens: Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes, to help the young people in your life learn more about how they can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes. Download or order the tip sheet and more free resources by visiting www.YourDiabetesInfo.org or calling 1-888-693-NDEP (1-888-693-6337), TTY: 1-866-569-1162.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.