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  • Writer's pictureKaren Graham

Prevent type 2 diabetes in children

You’ve probably heard the saying that, “Diabetes runs in families.” It is true. If we inherit type 2 diabetes genes from our parents we are more likely to develop diabetes ourselves. We can’t change the genes we get from our parents. However, there is another big reason that diabetes runs in families. We learn to eat and exercise from our families. This we can change!

“People in the same household tend to eat similar foods and to be either active or inactive. Children who learn from their parents how to eat healthy foods and to be active will have a decreased risk for diabetes, even if diabetes runs in the family.” Source: Complete Diabetes Guide (2020).

This is powerful to know. It means that if you have diabetes and you are a parent, you can make changes that will benefit you and your children. Complete Diabetes Guide has a full chapter on Preschoolers to Teenagers, including stories.

Here are four healthy family changes,

1. Stop the pop. Don’t buy sweetened pop nor unsweetened fruit juice. Both have a lot of sugar. Only have these drinks in small amounts or as an occasional special treat. Offer water regularly. Children will learn to drink water when they are thirsty.

2. Eat together. Serve balanced meals at regular times. As much as possible, eat meals together as a family. Research has shown valuable benefits of family dinners.

3. Cook with children. From an early age, cook with your kids, and teach them to set the table and wash the dishes. This is part of learning that food and meals are to be enjoyed and valued.

4. Limit the screen. Once you limit cellphone, computer and TV time, it frees up time for your children and you to walk, bike and play and learn together.

Think about making even one of these changes starting this week.

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