Moms have a lot on their plates. But what they put on their families’ plates can have a huge effect on their health and well-being, including their potential for developing diabetes.
For many families, food means love. But a big part of love for one’s family is taking care of them and making sure they stay healthy. That means food needs to be separated from emotions and put squarely in its place as fuel for the body. Comfort foods and decadent desserts are great every once in a while, but just like your car needs clean fuel to function, you should be putting high quality foods into your family to keep them running strong. National Diabetes Awareness Month is a good time for that reminder.
It’s true. Some families have a tough time making that separation between affection and an extra dinner roll or slice of pie. But changing behaviors can take place gradually with the right amount of guidance from the person who’s already doing a lot of the guiding, organizing and shopping – Mom.
According to the American Heart Association, one of the best decisions a family can make is not to diet, but to make smarter choices about both the quantity and quality of what they eat. Use easy techniques such as reducing portion sizes, increasing intake of fiber – including vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts and whole grains – and reading food labels to limit added sugar. Simply changing your shopping habits to focus less on carbohydrates like granulated sugar, soda, desserts and other sweets also can have a huge impact.
If you suspect – or your doctors have told you – your family is overweight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that losing just 5 to 7 percent of total body weight can help delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. In a study by the Mayo Clinic, researchers found that similar weight loss reduced the chances of participants getting diabetes by nearly 60 percent.
But it’s about more than food. It’s also important to emphasize the need for everyone to shut down the TV, smartphone and video games and get moving. According to the CDC, fewer than 3 of 10 high school students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Only about 1 in 5 adults meets the 2008 guidelines of the National Physical Activity Plan. Inactive adults have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
You can turn to the YMCA for help. Gymnastics lessons, swimming, weight training and youth fitness programs such as Girls on the Run, Heart & Sole and STRIDE help kids and their families better understand the benefits of regular exercise. Parents have lots of options to help model healthy behavior, from weight training to group exercise classes. Plus, in-house nutritionists can help parents learn delicious ways to help families eat better and adapt to healthier eating habits.
For details about fitness and nutrition options at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, visit www.ymcagbw.org or contact a branch near you.
Disclaimer: YMCA of Greater Brandywine is a paid sponsor of Chester County Moms. Yet, Chesco Moms is a proud supporter of YMCA of Greater Brandywine!