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Got Diabetes? Here's How You Can Keep Your Kids From Getting It

Got Diabetes? Here's How You Can Keep Your Kids From Getting It

Diabetes affects over 37 million Americans, and about half don’t even realize they have it. If one person in the family has diabetes, others are more likely to develop it. You can play an essential role in safeguarding your children's well-being by implementing healthy habits and making informed choices.

At Encino Park Family Health & Wellness Clinic in San Antonio, Texas, John Leal, DNP, and aesthetician and registered nurse Tori Leal, BNP, are dedicated to providing the information you need to help prevent diabetes in your children.

Understanding diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes glucose, a sugar that serves as the primary energy source. 

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood and is characterized by the body's inability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common in adults, involves insulin resistance and impaired glucose regulation. 

Both types can have serious health consequences if they’re not managed properly. While researchers don’t know how to prevent Type 1 diabetes, you can take steps to ward off Type 2.

How to prevent Type 2 diabetes

There are some steps you can take to reduce your child’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes:

Promoting a healthy diet

One of the most significant contributors to the development of Type 2 diabetes is an unhealthy diet. As parents, you play a crucial role in shaping your children's eating habits. Encourage a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Limit sugary snacks, beverages, and processed foods, as excessive sugar intake can increase the risk of diabetes. Remember, setting a positive example with your own food choices can impact your children's dietary preferences.

Encourage regular exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing diabetes. Encourage your children to engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily.

Try various activities to keep them interested, such as biking, swimming, playing sports, or simply walking briskly around the neighborhood. Limit screen time and promote outdoor play to keep your kids active.

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is a significant risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. As noted, help your children maintain a healthy weight by following a balanced diet and regular exercise, but also by avoiding the use of food as a reward or punishment, as this can lead to unhealthy eating patterns. 

Instead, celebrate achievements with non-food rewards, such as a fun family outing or a movie night.

Don’t let your children skip their health checkups

Regular visits to the pediatrician are essential for monitoring your children's health and catching any potential issues early on. Your health care provider assesses your children's growth, development, and overall well-being. 

They can also screen for risk factors associated with diabetes and offer guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Educate and empower your children

Educate your children about the importance of making healthy choices and explain the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle. When children learn healthy habits early in life, they’re more likely to continue them as adults. Some tips include:

Also, create family physical activity opportunities, such as hiking, playing sports, or dancing together. 

At Encino Park Family Health & Wellness Clinic, we’re here to partner with you on this important journey. By making healthy lifestyle choices and educating your children to do the same, you can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes and set the foundation for a healthy future for your children.

If you have any specific health concerns or questions, call Encino Park Family Health & Wellness Clinic to schedule an appointment with your family primary care doctor, or request an appointment online.

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