3 Vital Tips for Diabetes Prevention in Children and Teens

Type 2 Diabetes was once considered an adult disease, but over the past 20 years, the incidence in children and teenagers is on the rise globally. Genetics can play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, but with a healthy lifestyle, it can be prevented or delayed in most cases. Read our 3 vital tips for diabetes prevention in children and teens.

It is challenging to make healthy lifestyle changes when we have long-established habits. This is as true for individuals as it is for families. We have our favourite ways to spend our free time and to celebrate achievements and holidays. These habits often lead to unhealthy lifestyles, leaving us vulnerable to illness and disease.

Be the Example They Need

Learn to create healthy nutrition, exercise and sleep habits for yourself so you can share them with your children and teenagers. The You 2.0 Wellness APP was created specifically to support you in making changes that will support a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.

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3 Vital Tips for Diabetes Prevention in Children and Teens

Children and teens are showing higher average weights and less physical activity than ever before, and there are higher rates of type 2 diabetes in the younger generation than juvenile diabetes (type 1). Health risks associated with type 2 diabetes include damage to the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys.

So, what can we do to prevent diabetes in our children and teenagers?

1. Focus on Food

We know to avoid fast food, junk food, and soft drinks. We are aware that our kids need fruits and vegetables at every meal and that whole grains, cheese, nuts, and seeds are healthy options. But how do we get our kids on board and take the challenge out of getting them to eat this way?

  • Start well before the dinner table. Involve kids in planning and shopping to increase their curiosity about food. Gather recipes and plan together. For smaller ones, choose pictures of 10 meals you are willing to make and have them choose the one that most appeals to them. Explain the idea of creating a rainbow with their food as a simple way to choose meals that include a variety of fruits and vegetables. Older kids can search for recipes online.
  • After you’ve chosen recipes, have them help check what ingredients you have and then take your kids shopping. Choose the time wisely for when they aren’t tired or hungry. Give each child a list (with pictures for the younger ones) and encourage them to explore and find their ingredients. Make it a game of search and find.
  • Invite your mini-chef into the kitchen. Meal preparation will take longer, but once a week for each child (or one child per week) is manageable and there is more learning power in them making their own salad or stir fry than being told to eat it because it’s healthy.
  • Keep if fun! As a family, have theme nights each week or month. Focus on a colour or a culture. Rather than focusing on the food, celebrate special moments with your family and make the time you spend together cooking memorable.

2. Get Moving Together

If you are a busy family and find it difficult to find time to head out to the park every day, you can take advantage of the active chores that need to be done around the home regularly such as, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, raking, gardening, lawn mowing. Put on some music that inspires you to move and as a family spend 20 minutes cleaning. Take 5-minute dance breaks while cleaning to increase the exercise component.

You may also want to consider:

  • Family Boot Camp. Have each member of the family come up with several exercises or dance moves that can be done easily without equipment. Spend 30 seconds doing an exercise and then 60 seconds walking/jogging/running. Repeat the pattern choosing a new exercise each time for 20 minutes.
  • Hide and Move. Brainstorm and write down enough physical activities (including reps and time to provide 20 minutes of exercise) on paper and put them in plastic eggs. Hide the eggs and as the kids find them, the whole family participates in the activity for the number of reps or time.



3. Disconnect and Go to Bed

In one study, an increase in screen time was correlated to increased risk markers in children for type 2 diabetes. Screen time including tv, games and all devices should be limited to less than 2 hours per day for children and teenagers and ended one to two hours before bed.

Here are some changes you can implement in your household today:

  • Family screen-free time (a day, weekend, week) is a great way to reset and connect with what is important. A major challenge for the parenting generation today is to figure out how to manage screen time for our kids and ourselves. For the health of your family, be the role model they deserve.
  • Getting enough quality sleep each night improves our moods and has a positive impact on our immune system and metabolic health benefits, reducing the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. Create schedules that allow your children time to wind down before bed, time to connect with you to read or talk and to sleep well before beginning their next day.
  • Take an active role and show what a healthy lifestyle looks like. Fill your plate with nutrient-rich foods and choose to drink water yourself. Be the first one out the door excited to play as a family. Get enough quality sleep and rise refreshed each morning.


Learn to Model Healthy Habits for Your Family with the You 2.0 Wellness APP

Are you looking to take steps to live a more healthy and happy life and be the role model your family deserves? To find out more about You 2.0 Wellness App and how it can help you achieve this goal, call us today at 403-460-69691 or fill in our online contact form.


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