Diabetes Alert – Is My Child at Risk?
Research tells us that children who are overweight have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes during childhood. Overweight children are also more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other illnesses that can follow them into adulthood. If you are concerned about your child’s weight, speak to your pediatrician. You may also want to consider seeking the help of a registered dietitian. You can find a nutrition professional by visiting www.eatright.org.
Help Children Develop Healthy Habits Early in Life
Regardless of your child’s weight, they can benefit from healthy eating and daily physical activity. Here are some tips for parents:
Encourage breakfast. Eating breakfast has been shown to promote a healthy weight. A healthy breakfast can be simple and quick, such as whole grain cereal or whole grain frozen waffles with fruit and low-fat milk. For tips and ideas click here.
Have regular family meals as often as possible. Kids who take part in family meals on a regular basis are more likely to develop healthy eating habits, such as eating fruits and vegetables, and are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. For tips on making family meals happen, click here.
Serve a variety of healthy foods at meals and snacks. Stock up on healthy foods, including fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, low-fat milk and yogurt, and lean protein foods. Check out “Grocery Lists for Healthy Families”.
Avoid battles over food. Mealtimes should be free from arguments and stress. Don’t force children to eat their vegetables or clean their plate. If you’re worried about your toddler, click here for more advice.
- Involve children in food preparation. Children are more likely to eat something they helped prepare, so this is a great way to introduce children to healthy foods. For tips on this, click here.
Fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables. Besides their many health benefits, eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help promote a healthy weight. Check out “The Healthy Plate”.
Limit soda and other sugary beverages. Drinking soda has been linked to excessive weight gain and other problems. Other sugary beverages such as fruit punch can have just as much sugar and calories. Even 100% fruit juice should be limited to 4 oz per day. Click here for "What did you drink today?" or here for Healthy Beverage Advice.
Help your kids be active. Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity most (preferable all) days of the week. As a parent you can help them achieve this goal and learn to enjoy being active every day. Click here for age-appropriate ideas.
Be a good role model. Show your children you enjoy a variety of healthy foods and daily physical activity.
Want to Learn More?
Check out these resources:
Eat Smart. Play Hard.
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
We Can! Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition
The Weight-control Information Network
“Getting it Right, Right from the Start” offers free nutrition workshops for parents and educators. Presentations are available for:
- PTAs and other parent groups.
Contact us for more information or to schedule a program.
Phone: 631-727-7850 ext 342
Mail: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
423 Griffing Ave.
Riverhead, NY 11901-3071