Fitness Fun and Obesity Prevention in Children
As children head back to school this fall, parents, caregivers, health professionals,
and educators all play a role in supporting healthy behaviors in children.
While eating healthy is an important aspect of preventing obesity and becoming
overweight, keeping active also has a key part.
At school, children may be confined to sitting and sedentary behavior more often than summer break.
The American Heart Association recommends that all children age 2 and older should:
· Participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable,
moderately intense physical activities every day that are developmentally
appropriate and varied.
· If your child or children don't have a full 60-minute activity break each day,
try to provide at least two 30-minute periods or four 15-minute periods in which they
can engage in vigorous activities appropriate to their age, gender and stage of physical
and emotional development.
Here are some helpful suggestions to motivate children to meet these recommendations:
1. Make exercise fun. There is no reason to call exercise what it is.
Fun games like hop scotch, tag, or skipping rope can all make a child smile while getting exercise.
2. Make time for exercise. Add a place for exercise into your daily and weekly
schedules with activities that your children will love. If you don’t have enough time,
try putting exercise into other essential tasks, for example, clean up time can also
be an activity that involves walking back and forth. It can also be made into a game
with extra activities, such as the slowest to clean up one section does x amount of jumping jacks.
3. Play some fast paced music and have a dance party. Make up some dance moves
or integrate some calisthenics into your dance routine, then do a show at the end
of the week for family or friends!
4. Make exercise an activity for the whole family. When everyone participates in exercising,
it can be both motivating and meaningful for children.
5. Give gifts that encourage fitness or exercise. Types of gifts can include
small trampolines, hula hoops, jump ropes, hop-scotch, and bouncy balls.
6. Walk or bike whenever possible. If you have places that you normally
visit that are nearby, establish safe routes that encourage more walking or biking.
7. Visit parks or playgrounds. Go places that encourage activeness.
Playgrounds, children’s museums, and parks are excellent choices
where kids can have fun while also staying active.
8. Keep kids active when watching television or sitting in front of a screen.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than
“two hours of daily media exposure”for children 2 and up. Parents and kids
can take charge with healthy habits as fall begins and school returns,
getting back into a fall routine would be much more interesting by clearly setting
health goals for families. Also, setting up a meal planning system is great to let kids know that
healthy eating continues into fall with a few new choices.
References and Additional Reading:
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Friday, December 9, 2016
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Diabetes is a disease in which your body “does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar, or glucose),” this means that when you have diabetes there’s too much sugar in your blood (Global Report on Diabetes, 2016, p. 2). The most common types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. A major difference between the two is that Type 1 diabetes is most common in children. Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include excessive urination, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision change and fatigue. Type 2 diabetes is most common in adults. Type 2 diabetes is largely the result of excess body weight and lack of physical activity; however, its symptoms are similar to those of Type 1 diabetes. There are steps you can take to prevent or delay diabetes from happening to you. Recommendations include the following: achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, be physically active at least 30 minutes a day, have a healthy diet—avoid sugar and saturated fats, and avoid tobacco use. If you aren’t following these steps you can be faced with some serious consequences, like developing damage in your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerve cells.
One good way of keeping track of your diabetes is by taking the glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test which shows you how well your diabetes is being controlled. The HbA1c test does this by providing an average of what your blood sugar is over a time period of 2-3 months (“Hemoglobin A1c Testing for Diabetes,” 2016). If your blood sugar level is too high there are steps that need to be taken by you, the patient, and your doctor. This test is very important because it helps monitor your health and so it should be available in every country for every patient with or at risk for diabetes.
Globally, it’s been estimated that 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980 (Global Report on Diabetes, 2016, p. 2). There has been a rapid increase in the number of people living with diabetes. This is worrisome because these numbers are getting larger and we need to find a solution to minimize this rate . In countries like the United States and Guinea where diabetes is significant there were some troubling results about the number of deaths caused by diabetes. For instance, with a population of 322,000,000 in the United States the percentage of diabetes deaths every year was 3%. And in Guinea with a population size of 12,609,000 the percentage of death due to diabetes was 2% ( “WHO Fact Sheet”. 2016. ). In Sub-Saharan Africa 79% of people with diabetes die before the age of 60 and in America 38% of people die before the age of 60. This shows that people in America live longer with diabetes and they develop diabetes later on in life while in Africa people develop diabetes earlier and die much faster (“IDF Diabetes Atlas” 2015.).
The HbA1c test makes diabetes care better because it keeps patients up to date with their blood sugar level so people will be able to make the appropriate lifestyle changes. Without the HbA1c test available many people would be clueless on how to manage their health. In Africa there's limited access to the HbA1c test which means not everyone is getting information to control their diabetes. According to a scientific study from 2014 “poor control of blood glucose is common in patients with type 2 diabetes in Cameroon and Guinea. Limited access to the HbA1c test, appears to be a key factor associated with poor glycemic control in Guinea” (Camara et al., p. 1). However, in the United States all treatment is easier to get for most diabetic patients because many primary care practices have treatment available (“U.S. WHO Country Profile,” 2016). The American Diabetes mellitus Association guidelines requires that HbA1c tests be provided to patients in their primary care practice (Richard et al., P.2, 2015).
Hopefully many can see that it’s unfair that people in Africa aren’t getting the HbA1c test which is resulting in a faster death rate for diabetes patients and more complications like the amputations that my aunt went through. It would be marvelous to see more HbA1c tests provided to patients in primary care facilities in African countries like Guinea so that people can live longer and healthier lives. One thing that might help make this happen is if governments branched out and made connections to help promote more HbA1c tests for countries in need. Americans should care about the health of diabetes patients in Guinea because more deaths occurring there increases the human death rate globally. A death in Guinea is just as tragic as a death in America. This is why it’s very important to care about what’s going on worldwide. I believe all governments should care about this matter because we want the best for our people; meaning longer lives, healthier bodies, and more awareness. This is why campaigns should be held to effectively spread the message of the importance of the HbA1c test. It’s important for everyone with diabetes or at risk for the disease to know how they can receive help and protect themselves.
Thank you for reading my blog post. I hope you learned a lot about diabetes and its treatment. We are stronger together than apart. Every human counts, so let’s always aim to expand our knowledge and fight diabetes. Please consider donating to the World Diabetes Foundation, an organization committed to providing care globally and in sub-Saharan Africa. Visit their website at http://www.worlddiabetesfoundation.org/ for more information.
Written By: Aissata Sall
Camara, Alioune, et al., "Poor glycemic control in type 2 diabetes in the South of the Sahara: the issue of limited access to an HbA1c test.” Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 2015
"Global Report On Diabetes." World Health Organization. 2016. Web. 28 July 2016. <http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/204874/1/WHO_NMH_NVI_16.3_eng.pdf?ua=1>.
“Guinea-Diabetes Profile” World Health Organization., n.d. Web.
"Hemoglobin A1c Testing for Diabetes." WebMD. Web. 01 Aug. 2016. <http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/glycated-hemoglobin-test-hba1c>.
"IDF Diabetes Atlas - 7th Edition." IDF Diabetes Atlas. 2015. Web. 01 Aug. 2016. <http://www.diabetesatlas.org/>.
Richard, Patrick, et al., “Quality and Cost of Diabetes Mellitus Care in Community Health Centers in the United States.” PLOS ONE PLoS ONE, 2014
"United States Of America-Diabetes Profile" World Health Organization., n.d. Web. <http://www.who.int/diabetes/country-profiles/usa_en.pdf?ua=1>.
"WHO Diabetes Fact Sheet." World Health Organization. 2016. Web. 01 Aug. 2016. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/>.