Four Ways to Fight Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise and Healthy eating for kids can help prevent diabetes and other health issues.

If you think that Type 2 diabetes only happens in adults, think again.

Yes, the disease frequently strikes adults, particularly those who are overweight and/or have a poor diet, but the number of kids who are dealing with it is on the rise.

Nearly five percent more children were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes over the course of a decade with an unhealthy diet and lack of physical exercise among the biggest triggers. Type 2 diabetes can also increase the risk of heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, hearing impairment, skin conditions and Alzheimer’s disease.

Make sure to keep your kids’ risk for diabetes in check with these tips.

Time for a workout!

Run, swim, lift weights, walk, do yoga, play basketball: whatever your kids’ exercise of choice is, have them do it! If you want some inspiration, here are five great ideas that they’ll love. Exercise makes muscles use up glucose, which in turn means that blood sugar drops. In an ideal world, you’ll combine a little bit of aerobic training, strength training and flexibility, so make sure that your kids are targeting all three areas. Sometimes, strenuous workouts can trigger temporary blood sugar spikes, but it will likely come back down soon after and help in the long run.

Need great ways to get your kids moving? The Y can help you with dance, swim and sports programs! 

Get some sleep

Sleep and diabetes have a dysfunctional relationship and it’s a chicken-and-egg dilemma. Does sleeping less make your diabetes symptoms worse, or is it diabetes that affects your quality and quantity of sleep? Either way, you want to make sure that your kids are getting a good amount of quality sleep to help regulate their bodies. How much do they need? It depends on their age. Kids between 6 and 13 need nine to 11 hours, while those 14 to 17 should aim for eight to 10 hours.

If your kids have low energy, they’re more likely to opt for foods that will give them a quick energy jolt, but those will ultimately harm their body and blood sugar. More quality sleep means more natural energy.

Speaking of simple carbs…

There’s not a whole lot to gain from them or any high glycemic foods, and they’re a quick and easy way to send your blood sugar skyrocketing. Foods like sugars, honey, puffed cereals, rice cakes, potatoes, candy, bread (white especially!), instant products, carrots, corn, peas, flaked cereals and corn chips will wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Eliminate those from your kids’ diet, and chances are they’ll see improved blood sugar levels.

Let’s go fishing

Contrary to the infinite knowledge dropped in Finding Nemo, fish can be friends AND food, and healthy food at that. Wild salmon is the king of proteins when it comes to battling diabetes. It’s extremely high in protein and good fat, has zero carbs and is loaded with Omega-3, which helps reduce your risk of heart disease. If salmon’s taste is a little strong for you, a white fish like tilapia, cod or catfish can also do the trick. Need some inspiration? Try this Salmon Slow Cooker (thanks to Jen Reviews for sharing it!) or this Garlic Butter Salmon recipe.