For many families across the country, warm weather means time spent with family – whether it’s backyard cookouts, picnics at the park, family reunions, or family vacations. These events are a time for families to reconnect and reflect on traditions. Family functions are also a time to talk about family health.
In the United States, all too often a family’s health history includes prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition that affects 84 million American adults – or 1 in 3 – and means that a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
Prediabetes affects some communities more than others. For example, 36% of African Americans have prediabetes, and only 1 in 10 are aware that they do. Meanwhile, 32% of Hispanics and Latinos have prediabetes, and only 1 in 14 are aware that they do.
When spending time with family this summer, think about ways you can get healthier together. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Prepare healthier food for barbeques and picnics. It’s not summer without family barbeques and cookouts! Offer to bring healthier options such as fruits, vegetables, and low-sugar and low-calorie beverages.
- Check out farmers’ markets and make trips to “pick-your-own” farms and orchards. Kids may be more likely to try new foods they pick themselves. Plus, the whole family can get in more activity.
- Get the family moving. Gather the family for a game of soccer, basketball, softball, or kickball. Or just go for a good, brisk family walk. If your family goes on vacation, incorporate opportunities to walk to, around, or between sites.
- Create a family health buddy program. Accountability works. Encourage family members to pick a “health buddy” who they can talk to when they feel like they’re slipping into unhealthy behaviors or when they want to celebrate a health win. Texting a family member after completing a workout or when a dessert craving hits can be just what they need to stay on track.
- Start a conversation about prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. It’s not always easy to bring up a topic like prediabetes, but it sure is important – 9 out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t even know they have it. Encourage your family members to find out if they might have prediabetes by taking a one-minute risk test here. If they find out they have prediabetes, encourage them to learn more about Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life (CYL2), a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program through the Black Women’s Health Imperative.
Summer is a time to have fun with family, but it’s also a time to help take care of them. Encourage family members at risk for type 2 diabetes to understand their risk and learn that they can prevent or delay it if they take steps to change their lifestyle. Help them get started today! Call (334) 293-6502 for more information.