How to Prevent Lifestyle Diseases in Your Children
Recently son of one of my relatives was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and he is just 12 years old. Type 2 diabetes, which was once a disease of the adults, is in recent years affecting more and more children. And, I feel, we should do something about it to prevent juvenile diabetes. So, I am writing this post to create awareness of this problem.
The main reasons behind increasing occurrences of diabetes in children include increased weight and obesity in children. Children are becoming more sedentary and are eating more and more unhealthy food, including junk food and fast-food. And because of the increased availability of video games, computers and television channels, they have more reasons to stay indoors for longer periods of time, not indulging in any physical activity.
Besides the risk of diabetes, overweight children are also exposed to other issues such as hypertension and high cholesterol. Here are some ways, I feel we can help our children to keep them healthy and protect them from lifestyle diseases such diabetes at an early age.
Limit the Time Spent on Electronic Devices
Parents can help children maintain their weight within normal limits by limiting the time they spend playing video games and television to an hour or two a day. We need to create opportunities for fun without electronic devices. There is no doubt that watching TV can help the children to connect better with the world around them. Children, however, need to earn the right to spend time television. We should make rules for them – for every minute they spend playing outside, they can watch TV for a minute. Half an hour of playing outdoors will allow them to watch television program for half an hour. By going for sports activities that the entire family can participate, you can encourage children to be active and healthy.
Choose a Sport for Children
When children become overweight, they do not want to practice team sports. They may think they are not able to keep up with others, or that they will disappoint their teammates. Sports that focus on individual achievements such as martial arts or swimming are good choices for building the confidence of children, allowing them to be good physical shape.
Involve Children in Household Chores
Household chores are another way to keep children active. They can sweep floor, fold the laundry, take care of pets, help to wash dishes … just to name a few of the ways that kids can help around at home. In countries like Japan, school children have to sweep school floors and tidy the classrooms every day. There is no shame in doing our own house work. Participation in household chores is great because kids love the feeling that they are a part of the family, and start becoming more responsible.
Choosing a Pet
By having a pet such as a dog, your child can learn to lead an active lifestyle. Dogs love to play with kids and kids enjoy their company too. You can give your children the responsibility to walk your dog or play with him in the garden. Both your dog as well as your kid will stay healthy this way.
Prepare Healthy Snacks
Giving children healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts, or yogurt can shape their healthy habits. You can involve your kids when you are preparing their snacks. Decorating your kid’s snacks in creative way using peanut butter, grapes or dry fruits can make the snacks appetizing for the children. This would stop their cravings for junk food advertised on television channels.
Use your imagination to prepare various snacks using more fruits and vegetables. Preparing more meals at home or making healthy snacks packets for kids can reduce the number of calories, fat and sodium they consume. A bag of apples or other fruit can sometimes cost more than the fast-food items, but such fruits are full of vitamins, nutrients and fiber, which in the long term represent a better diet for your growing child.
Take Healthy Decisions
If you create the right environment for family health in your home by giving it a priority, you will help your children learn to make the right decisions later when they become adults. Parents are the ones that should control children to lead a healthy life. Doing all this together, you all will feel like taking part in decision making. And it is more fun when everyone is going in the same direction towards a healthy lifestyle.
You can prevent lifestyle diseases not just for your children but also for yourself. Good health can last a lifetime, so start indulging in a healthy lifestyle.