Type 2 diabetes and tips for teens

Follow some simple steps to help your teen avoid type 2 diabetes.

Teens can take steps to lower their chances of type 2 diabetes. Why? Because more teens are being diagnosed with the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a silent disease, which means many times there are no symptoms until it is too late and the disease has already begun to affect the body. By being more active and making healthy food choices, teens can be proactive with their health and have a better quality of life.

How does diabetes develop? The food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) so our body can use the glucose for energy. When we have diabetes glucose builds up in the blood and cannot get in the cells of your body. If the blood sugar/glucose stays too high for a long period of time, it can damage your eyes, kidneys and nerves.

Teens are at risk for getting diabetes if they have a family member with the disease, weigh too much for their height, do not get enough physical activity or are Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, African American, Asian American or Pacific Islander.

The best preventative is to take action to keep healthy:
  • Aim to stay at a healthy weight: Most teens who get type 2 diabetes weigh too much. Lose weight by eating healthy and being active.
  • Be physically active every day: Use stairs instead of elevators, dance, play sports, hike. etc. Don’t sit down to watch TV for more than two hours per day.
  • Get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This means get your heart rate going faster while exercising.
  • Ask a friend or family member to get fit with you. Many times it is more fun to walk or play with someone else.

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