For adults and children who are overweight or have diabetes, Halloween is a vexing holiday that potentially opens the floodgates for overconsumption of empty-calorie sugar in candy. This year, Halloween can mark the beginning of a healthy 30 days of November through a pledge to make two small lifestyle changes in honor of American Diabetes Awareness Month.
The online Taking Steps to End Diabetes Pledge asks adults and children to pledge to (1) walk at least 30 minutes at least five times per week and (2) reduce sugary drink consumption by half for the month of November. Reseaarch shows that lifestyle changes like exercise and nutrition can stave off or reduce the effects of diabetes, where the body fails to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar. That’s why smart first steps like reducing empty calorie sugary drinks – and avoiding indulging in candy on Halloween – provide long-term health benefit.
Some 26 million Americans have diabetes, and another 79 million have symptoms, or prediabetes. Of that number, about 215,000 are under 20. While the youth and adolescent number might seem relatively small compared with the 105 million Americans with diabetes or prediabetes, it’s significant considering Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult onset diabetes” because it primarily impacted older adults.
It’s no coincidence that the 105 million people with diabetes or prediabetes represent one in three Americans, the same statistic for people who are obese in the United States.
Why not draw that line in the sand this Halloween and pledge to make two simple lifestyle choices to get a jump-start on those New Year’s resolutions that are only 60 days away. For more information on the Taking Steps to End Diabetes Walking Campaign, click here. For an individual diabetes risk factor assessment tool, click here.