The Benefits of Establishing Good Life Habits Early in Life to Beat Type II-Diabetes
Type II diabetes has generally been associated with people in late middle age or old age, especially if they are overweight. Increasingly today it is being diagnosed at earlier ages as the obesity epidemic grows more serious for the younger population, including children. Western eating habits and sedentary lifestyles are blamed for this large increase in the incidence of diabetes.
A generation or two ago mom would serve home-cooked meals, usually with an abundance of homegrown vegetables and fruit, to children who had been playing outside much of the day. The children may have had candy on weekends, given as a treat or bought with an allowance. However, possibly the most important part of their lifestyle in terms of weight maintenance was that they lived an active life, playing baseball, riding bicycles, and skipping ropes.
Children today are more likely to sit in front of a television or a computer playing games rather than enjoy the great outdoors. Working parents find that with children under a roof, it is easier to manage chores and ease present-day fears such as vehicle traffic, pedophiles, and drug pushers.
Meals too have undergone a major transformation. Many families now have two working parents who increasingly turned to convenience foods and TV dinners which contain high fat, salt, and sugar content. Straight from the deep freeze, these meals have fewer nutrients than fresh food, include trans-fats, and are prepared with preservatives. Because time is short, dessert is likely to be an over-sweetened pie from the refrigerator, a sugary pop tart, or gelatin dessert that has more artificial than natural ingredients. Once dinner is over, today’s parents are more likely to spend the rest of the evening on the couch watching TV with the children than earlier generations.
Children brought up with such a routine see this as a legitimate way to bring up their own children, so these living patterns and eating habits are passed on to future generations. No one is surprised the increase of overweight youth is a cause for concern. During the last twenty years, some twelve million children and young people in the US are classified as obese.
While parents may be working long hours to pay off a mortgage or deal with rising prices in a troubled economy, even with little spare time, room can always be made for small changes in lifestyle. Try to make your kids more active: limit the television and computer use and push them out in the yard with a ball if the weather is good. If not, get them doing chores around the house to earn their TV privileges. Encourage them to join sports clubs at school, or, if you can’t peel them from the computer, buy them a computer fitness game!
Serve frozen dinners if you must, but provide fresh vegetables or a healthy salad on the side instead of baked beans. Have a bowl of fruit ready instead of candy, cookies, or popcorn, and serve fruit as a dessert regularly.
Remember, it is not just your own children you may be saving from obesity and its consequential health risks, but that of your grandchildren and future generations.