NORMAN — Q: I have been concerned that my child is gaining weight too quickly but do not want to push her into a diet or make her feel bad about herself. We have a lot of diabetics in our family and do not want her to become diabetic, too. Are there any resources that might help?
A: That is a very valid concern, and thank you for being aware that making your child be on a diet could have negative psychological effects if it is not approached properly. There has been a growing trend of adult-type diabetes developing in children and adolescents, so being mindful of this and proactive about prevention is essential.
Knowing that there is a family history of diabetes now makes this an entire family issue, not just your daughter’s. The best thing you can do for your daughter is become a partner in fitness and a healthy lifestyle with her.
There are several good resources, and one of my favorites is choosemyplate.gov, which has a special section titled “MyPlateKid’sPlace” which is an interactive website with games, quizzes, activity pages and more. There is even a classroom program that you can share with your child’s teacher if that is part of their curriculum. Several important things to do for your child include:
1) Make activity a family priority. It does not have to mean running laps with a stop watch. Go for a walk and incorporate little bursts of exercises — like a short sprint, jumping jacks and squats — and be sure to do them, too. Jumping ropes are portable and fun to take along. This also is a good time to get to visit about her day and to talk about other good habits.
2) Have healthy snacks available. Sliced veggies with hummus or low fat dip, fruit with yogurt dip, lean deli meat, boiled eggs, unsalted nuts, yogurt and string cheese are all good things to keep around.