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How to use exercise to reduce type 2 diabetes risk for children.

Find out how why exercise is good for children to prevent type 2 diabetes. Also learn what about what is the appropriate amount of exercise for children.

How to use exercise to reduce type 2 diabetes risk for children.

How to use exercise to reduce type 2 diabetes risk for children

One particular study set out to prove how exercise impacted the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in children. We looked at the information and found the following to be most worthy of sharing with you and your loved ones.

Exercise promises holistic benefits for children as well as adults.

Every medical doctor spends years studying the benefits of exercise on the human body, both for adults and for children. It’s sometimes so difficult to actually summarise the benefits, so we put together this list for you to think about. Notice how weight is only one element, among the various physical benefits:

  • Muscular strength. Lifting blocks, toys and their own body weight helps build and strengthen muscle fibre, as well as burn more energy.
  • Heart health. Exercise prevents hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure) and heart disease.
  • Bone density and strength. The crucial time to build bones starts before teen years, lasting into the mid-20s. It’s during this period that bones grow to their maximum thickness. Arm your children against osteoporosis by encouraging weight-bearing activities (eg. jump rope, running, field sports).
  • Body fat ratio. Both aerobic and strength training burn energy in a way that evens out the body’s distribution of fatty tissues.
  • Weight goals. Reducing sedentary behaviours (eg. TV and computer games) prevents obesity, thus preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.

What’s the right amount of exercise for children?

As part of a study, vigorous, moderate, light exercise and sedentary behaviour were measured using Actiheart® devices. Heart rates and body movement were recorded continually for at least four days, including weekends. As expected, risk factors were significantly reduced in children increasing the amount of time spent in physical play or sport.

Conversely, increased sedentary lifestyle displayed higher risk factors: resting heart rate; glucose levels; reduced or impaired blood flow and more. All of this was found to be independent of gender, biological maturity and lean body mass. The significance of this study is its insight into preventing childhood Diabetes.

Why is Diabetes harder to manage in children?

Think about your best memories from school, especially junior primary. It’s likely that your classmates’ birthdays were celebrated with cake and party packs, filled with sweet treats. A child’s curiosity almost always trumps his/her discipline, making it really tough to play by the rules all the time. If you have your own children now you’ll know that they need constant reminding in order to remember certain things.

It’s important to remember that it’s not your child’s fault for getting caught up in the excitement of a class birthday party. It’s possible to forget the rules, or to be coerced into breaking them by classmates who are not exposed to same risks. One of our recent interviewees at a Diabetes support group opened up about the challenges of her four-year-old daughter’s diagnosis. She emphasised the importance of discipline for each lifestyle intervention, and how to take nothing for granted when going up against Type 1 Diabetes.

Understand more about Diabetes and how to live a happy, healthy life as a Diabetic.

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Work with your child’s educators

Whether your child is Diabetic or not, it’s important to remember that one of his/her classmates might be. A little strategic planning never hurt anyone, so use this to your advantage. Speak openly with the school principal, learn about the syllabus and subjects. Explore what physical and sedentary activity your child engages in. Converse with your child to find out what he/she enjoys and dislikes about school so you can help them navigate better.

Make party snacks with healthier alternatives. Many home industries offer delicious treats and are willing to substitute ingredients upon request. Balance out party pack items or learn your child’s class birthday calendar. This helps you accommodate for when sweets are expected to enter the classroom in bulk. Never miss an opportunity to have a conversation with your child and educate him/her about food choices and impact on the body.

If your child’s school is missing a solid physical education routine, consider getting together with a group of parents or the school board to collectively come up with a weekend or after-school programme together. Without collective support, all students at the school continue to be exposed to more and more health risks, not just Diabetes.


Care.com, 2018. Why kids need exercise. 12 March. Available at: https://www.care.com/c/stories/10367/why-kids-need-exercise-guide-to-childrens-exercise/ [Accessed 11 August 2019].

Väistö, J, Haapala, EA, Viitasalo, A, Schnurr, TM, Kilpeläinen, TO, Karjalainen, P, Westgate, K, Lakka, H-M, Laaksonen, DE, Ekelund, U, Brage, S, and Lakka, TA. 2018. Vigorous exercise decreases type 2 diabetes and CVD risk in children. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. Available at: https://www.medicalbrief.co.za/archives/vigorous-exercise-decreases-type-2-diabetes-cvd-risk-children/?pix=33_0_0 [Accessed 11 August 2019].

We all have questions.

Below are some of the answers to the most common questions that you need to know.

Which is worse – Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes?

“Worse” is a harsh comparison. The difference between these two types of Diabetes is that Type 1 requires insulin, and it never goes away. Type 2 requires consistent effort and can be managed over your lifetime.

What is the normal HbA1C level?

It is generally accepted that you should maintain HbA1C below 8%. The following guidelines are suggested by the South African Diabetes Association:

  • 4 – 6% Non-diabetic range. 
  • < 7% Well-controlled diabetic 7% – 8% Acceptable diabetic control > 8% 
  • Poor diabetic control needs attention.
What is the main cause of Diabetes?

Diabetes (Type 1) is usually a predisposed or genetically inherited condition. Diabetes (Type 2) is caused by lifestyle choices. Gestational Diabetes can be caused by either genetics or lifestyle choices.

What are the first signs of diabetes?
  • Excessive thirst over a prolonged period.
  • Increased frequency in the need to urinate.
  • Significant weight loss or gain.
  • You find yourself fatigued, tired, and irritable, on a regular basis.
  • Open or ruptured wounds take a long time to heal.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Tingling sensations in your hands and feet.
Can you get life insurance if you have Diabetes?

Yes. AllLife can help you get up to R10million life insurance, as either a Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic.

Can I test myself for Diabetes?

Although you can easily test your own blood glucose levels at any time, only your doctor, nurse, or clinic team can confirm a Diabetes diagnosis. This is because a series of specific tests are required for diagnosis.

Up to R10 million Life Cover for people living with Diabetes.

Simply fill in your details below and we'll call you back.

What will I be covered for?

With just one phone call, you could be offered comprehensive Diabetic Life Cover and Diabetic Disability Cover (optional). A simple underwriting process is completed once you’ve signed up, usually consisting of common blood tests, to determine if full cover can be continued.

What happens after I‘m covered?

After you’re covered you can enjoy the benefit of our Health Control Programme where we remind and assist you when it comes to regular tests and checkups, ensuring that you live a healthy and happy life.

Remember, life cover gets more expensive as you get older, so your premium will never be lower than it is today.

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*Risk Profile Dependent, Premiums increase by 6% every year and can be reviewed given 30 days' notice.