Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Learning from Kids about Diabetes

“So they will not get sick and die at a young age.” 
              --the answer from D.G., age 12, grade 6, an attendee at a recent Growing Healthy Kids educational program to the question, "Why do kids need to eat healthy foods?" 

From the mouths of babes...These were some of the POWERFUL WORDS from children in a recent Growing Healthy Kids program for middle school children (grades 6-8 in Indian River County, Florida).  Kids were asked this question:  Why do kids need to eat healthy foods?

“Also to have energy to play with friends and family.”
“So they can’t get diabetes at an early age.”
“It’s good to learn about good foods as a kid so when you grow up you can teach your children to be super healthy as an adult.”
“To stay healthy.”
“Kids need healthy food to get energy for activities."
“To help them grow.”

 family preparing a meal

When asked if they had a family member with diabetes, more than half of the kids in the Growing Healthy Kids education program raised their hands.  Diabetes is a real threat for children who have a family member with this disease.  Almost 1 in 10 Americans (9.3%) has diabetes.  Diabetes is a group of diseases where increased blood sugar levels result from problems in how insulin is produced, how insulin works, or both.  Being at an unhealthy weight is one of the biggest risk factors for developing diabetes.  People with diabetes may develop serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and premature death (source:  CDC,gov).

To learn more about diabetes, go to or click here.

Growing Healthy Kids works to prevent diabetes in children.   Diabetes is a disease usually diagnosed in older adults.  When kids develop type 2 diabetes, they can be expected to live an average of 17 years less than kids without diabetes and they will face a lifetime of higher health care costs and increased morbidity in addition to lower life expectancy. 

ALL children deserve to know that foods and drinks containing added sugars are unhealthy and may contribute to their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Physical inactivity and too much screen time are also putting America's children at risk for unhealthy weights and obesity related diseases such as diabetes.  

Just as we can teach our children, they can also teach us.  Children do not want to get sick and die at a young age.  As parents, we can act responsibility and give them access to real foods instead of added sugars and refined grains.  

Image result for healthy kids

Please pass the blueberries and broccoli!  Healthy Kids are sweet enough!

With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.