A Family Guide
You and your family can be successful in living a healthier lifestyle.
Healthier Together: A Family Guide has the information you need to make lifestyle changes that will benefit the whole family.
Visit allinahealth.org/family for a copy of this guide. You will also find at-home lessons to begin family conversations about making healthful choices.
Reducing your family's risk of diabetes
If you have diabetes, chances are someone else in your family will get it. Having a parent, brother or sister with the disease is a top risk factor for diabetes.
Your family's risk for diabetes increases even more if you're in any of these ethnic groups: African American, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander.
Studies show that your loved ones can avoid diabetes through the same choices that help people with diabetes improve their condition.
Everyone benefits by making these steps part of family life:
- Get moving. Walking is an excellent exercise that requires only a good pair of shoes. Do simple exercises like sit-ups, leg lifts or marching in place while watching television. Park the car farther away from the store entrance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or, find something else that you will be willing to do on a regular basis. Whatever you choose, start gradually and work your way up to 30 minutes a day five days a week.
- Improve your diet. Eat smaller portions, and choose foods low in calories and fat. Bake, grill or steam food instead of frying it. Serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods. Buy low-fat or "light" versions of cheese, ice cream, sour cream, salad dressing, yogurt, etc. Have healthy snacks – fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, popcorn (no or little butter) or pretzels – available. Visit choosemyplate.gov to learn about the five food groups, how much of each food group you should eat, and tips and resources.
- Lose weight, if needed. Losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds can help prevent or improve diabetes. Taking steps 1 and 2 will help you do just that.
One change at a time
It is almost impossible to make so many lifestyle changes at once. Instead, try making one change at a time. For example, gradually increase your physical activity and then change your eating habits.
Setting goals that are specific and realistic will also help. If you have any questions, talk with your health care provider.
Dialog home page
Healthful habits for the whole family
Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Are You at Risk for Diabetes?, dia-ahc-32202; National Diabetes Education Program
First published: 09/26/2005
Last updated: 01/29/2013
Reviewed by: Mary Frederick, RN, MS, CDE, diabetes program manager, Allina Health Diabetes Education; Dawn McCarter, RN, BSN, CDE, diabetes program coordinator, Allina Health Diabetes Education