This past summer, I volunteered for a week at a summer camp for children with diabetes.The American Diabetes Association’s, Camp Carefree was geared toward bringing children with diabetes together and providing them with support from all over the country. The kids amazed me every single day with their knowledge and bravery. I knew nothing about how hard their daily lives were; I only knew what I had learned in classes at UNH. I watched these children inject themselves with insulin every day before meals and observed insulin pump changes for 8 year old boys while hugging one of them when he was crying because he was so afraid of the needle.
Diabetes is diagnosed when a person has too much glucose in their blood.Most of these children had Type 1 diabetes, which is known as juvenile diabetes because it is usually diagnosed during childhood.This occurs when the body fails to produce insulin.
Type 2 however, is when your body does not use insulin correctly and it develops insulin resistance. Insulin is used by your body to absorb and transport glucose and use it for energy. Type two diabetes is also known as adult onset diabetes, but is becoming more and more prevalent in younger people. What could be the reason for this?
Inactivity and obesity rates are rising and the correlation between these and diabetes diagnoses is no coincidence.The good new is, type 2 is preventable!The Harvard School of Public Health provides us with prevention tips:
1.Put Exercise First – stay active for at least 30-60 minutes/day!Go for a run, walk, throw a frisbee, and anything that will get you moving.Exercising can greatly reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
2.Maintain a healthy body weight- Again, staying active can help you achieve this!Provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs, but choose to use proper portion sizes at meals!Try the Wildcat Plate in the Dining Halls at UNH as reference!
3.Incorporate healthy fats- choose mono and polyunsaturated fats at meals!Foods that contain these are avocados, and almonds!
4.Choose plant-based foods- Make half of your grains, whole grains!
5.Stay away from refined carbohydrates and sugary beverages- refined carbohydrates and drinks like soda, can cause spikes in blood sugar, which in time can lead to diabetes.
Prevention of Diabetes can help you avoid other serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and nerve damage.If you keep yourself at a healthy weight, incorporate a healthy diet, and exercise, you can help not only yourself but also others by becoming a positive influence.Help us make a change to end type 2 diabetes!