Sunday, August 30, 2009

Diabetes Prevention and Healthful Living -Part One

With Diabetes so rampant in society today, what can you do to safe guard yourself, and your family, from this serious disease? Diabetes education starts very young. It is important to take the time with your children to instill proper eating habits. If they are not fond of vegetables, do not give in. Vegetables, and other critical nutrients, are essential in a healthy diet, and lifestyle. Find creative ways of presenting things that they resist. Interesting shapes and colors are ways of "presenting" vegetables, and other items, to the discerning young pallet. Make it into a game if you have to, presentation is everything to curious growing children.
Remember, healthy eating is important for your child to do well in school.
According to recent studies less than 15% of all school age children eat the recommended amount of fruits for the Food Guide Pyramid, and less than 20% eat the recommended amounts of vegetables, only about 20% eat the right amount of WHOLE grains (processed white floor is not a whole grain), 30% consume the recommended amount of milk (necessary for growing bones.) (Nutrition For Professionals, Jane Penz, PhD, 2009) Childhood obesity is a national epidemic. These children need proper guidance, starting at home, at a very early age. "Unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are causes of obesity and chronic disease, resulting in at least 300,000 deaths per year. Poor nutrition associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, alone, cost in excess of $71 billion a year" (These statistics were in 2003, Dr Jane Penz.) For the exact guidelines for your family, and a variety of educational materials, check out and click on resource library. Kid Health ( is another nutritional site to help you with family meal planning, eating issues, and how to eat a variety of healthy foods.
Food is a necessary element for survival. We need it for energy to maintain life. Sure it's great to enjoy your food- and we should! We can learn to enjoy healthy, wholesome, natural foods at an early age. We can learn to eat proper portions- at an early age. The key is the age. Snacks do not have to be greasy potato chips. They could just as easily be carrot sticks with humous- at an early age. You program your child at a young age as to what their preferences will be. If you are health conscious, your child will be too! They are imitators of you! Chips and cakes and ice cream are not necessary for a happy child, or person- health is!! Watermelon and seasonal fruits are just as a enjoyable, with very little preparation time- and a fraction of the real cost in the final analysis.
Exercise is the other missing link in this puzzle. Our children need to be encouraged to get outside and participate in something! Family outings can consist of hiking, running, walking, physical sports and a variety of things. It is truly endless what can be done together. Once again this should be instilled at an early age. Their is not time like the present with your children. Encourage them to participate in school sport and other outdoor activities. And, once again, if you are active- they probably will be too.
If you and your spouse are overweight, or obese, there is an 80% chance that your child will be as well. This is a lifestyle issue we are discussing. True prevention of obesity and chronic disease and illness are issues that start early in life, in the home. It is important to take the time for valuable sit down meals with a balanced, healthful menu. Menu's can be prepared in advance on days off. Extra portions can be frozen for future meals. Planning is the key to success. There are plenty of magazines and web-sites that feature a variety of low fat, high fiber balanced meals that promote good health for the whole family. I subscribed to 'Prevention" on line. They send me a steady stream of recipes that can be pre-made and can be enjoyed at any family meal. Remember, home is where it all begins!! You hold the key to your child's good health, and habits.

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