Obesity and Diabetes: Is Your Family At Risk?

By at October 20, 2010 | 10:27 pm | Print

Obesity and Diabetes: Is Your Family At Risk?

Written by: Kimberly Hickman, R.N.

Obesity and Diabetes type 2: Is Your Family At Risk?
Did you know that every year more people die from conditions related to diabetes than some forms of Cancer and AIDS? In some cases people are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes because of their family history. You can’t change your family history but if you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes or told you are at risk for developing this disease because of your weight, you can take action to change this. 

Too many people everyday are depending on insulin injections and a pill to control their diabetes. Would you want to be dependent on a shot everyday or pill if you didn’t have to? Of course not, and just think of all the money you could save if you didn’t need the insulin, pill, syringes, glucometer, and the list goes on. Making small lifestyle changes and reducing your risk for Type 2 Diabetes will also reduce your risk for heart disease, the #1 killer in this country. Those with pre-diabetes are already at a higher risk for developing heart disease.

So what can you do to help ward off Type 2 Diabetes and reduce your risk? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. Research has shown that when you exercise on a regular basis your bodies ability to use insulin improves significantly. The key factor in what the research shows is “exercise on a regular basis”. The effect exercise has on your body lasts anywhere from 12-48 hours so maintaining a every other day exercise regimen would greatly decrease your risks of developing the disease as well as improve your bodies ability to use insulin if you already have the disease.

Another simple step you can take to reduce your risk for developing Diabetes is to “eat fresh”. Many pre-packaged foods are loaded with extra sugars and calories you don’t need. One study showed that adding more fresh fruits and fresh vegetables to your diet reduced the risk for Diabetes by 22 percent.

Diabetes is a disease that leads to many other devastating medical conditions such as neuropathy, limb amputation, blindness, and heart disease just to name a few. If you fear you could be at risk for this disease contact your physician and ask to be screened. There are simple blood tests your doctor can perform to find out if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Find out now and make small changes before you are relying on a shot or pill everyday. This is one disease that is not only preventable, but curable by simple changes in your lifestyle. For more information on ways to decrease your risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes or to get off your current medications if you have already been diagnosed visit

Below are some sample tips to help you get started today!

#1: Try to increase your activity so that you are getting 150 minutes a week.
Monday:   15 minutes of yard work/house work and a 20 minute brisk walk

Wednesday:  Find a local high school track
5 minute warm up: walk at a brisk pace around the track
25 minute power: walk the long length of the track and jog the short ends
Challenge: jog 1 lap at a brisk pace around the track
10 minute cool down: Walk at a normal pace without stopping to let your heart rate come down
***as you get stronger be creative and add in some lunges or bleachers to your track workout

Friday: 30 minutes of dancing to your favorite music followed by 10 minutes of stretching and deep breathing

Sunday: 30 minute bike ride, swimming, or brisk walk 5 minute cool down: stretch and deep breath

Just remember if you are a beginner set goals for yourself to work up to. You don’t need to run a marathon or spend everyday slaving in the gym. Find things you like to do that you can work up a sweat while doing them. Run around with your kids at the park, go on a hilly nature walk, or have a family hula hoop contest. Awareness is the first step, so no matter how you choose to fit in 150 minutes of exercise/play just make it a new part of your lifestyle, be creative.

#2: Eat Fresh. Try to add more fresh fruits and veggies into your diet

Sample Day:
Breakfast: 1 apple, 5 ounces of low fat vanillia yogurt, 1/4 cup of whole grain granola

Snack: carrot and celery sticks

Lunch:   Grilled Chicken Salad with sliced pears, cherry tomatoes, and snow peas
* Use 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix in your favorite vinegar and spices for your salad dressing

Snack: 2 Lean turkey and Mozzarella cheese roll-ups

Dinner: Turkey Meatballs in red sauce over spaghetti squash with steamed broccoli

Sweet Treat:  Sliced strawberries with 2 tablespoons of whip cream     

These small steps can make a big difference.


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