Kids and Type 1: The Health Benefits of Adding 1000 Steps

It’s so important for children with type 1 diabetes to be physically active, yet many engage in less activity than the recommended level for kids in their age group.

Being too sedentary puts these children at greater risk for diabetes complications, including early signs of cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis, or a build up of arterial plaque.

More Is Better

Researchers looking into this issue found that 55 percent of the children they studied with type 1 diabetes took fewer than 10,000 steps* each day. They also noted an association existed between the children’s average daily number of steps and the thickness of their arteries.

However, the researchers discovered when these children increased their activity level by adding just 1,000 more steps to each day there was a measurable reduction in the thickness of their arterial walls.

"In the children who had extra physical activity, we also saw reductions in weight, blood pressure, and triglycerides, which indicates an overall reduction in risk of heart disease," said lead research author Dr. Alexia Pena. “The more steps they do, the better.”

Adding More Steps

A lack of physical activity is not just an issue for kids with type 1 diabetes. It’s estimated just one in three children are physically active every day, and that kids and teens average four to seven hours a day using computers, TVs, phones, and other digital devices.

Yet, for children with diabetes the risk of health complications makes having an active lifestyle especially imperative, so here are a few tips for helping kids add more steps to their day:

  • It may take experimenting and outside the box thinking to find activities a non-athletic child enjoys, but with enough patience, trial, and error something is bound click. It might be rock climbing, dancing, martial arts, hiking, or golf.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids be limited to one or two hours of screen time each day.
  • Since kids love to spend time with their friends, inviting one or two of them to ride bikes, play tennis, go swimming, or spend time at a playground can be motivating.
  • It helps to make children’s physical activities part of the family schedule or routine. Saturday morning can be, for instance, a time your child expects to roller blade, or go to karate class. A couple nights each week the family might enjoy a neighborhood walk, or shooting some hoops at a nearby park.
  • Let your kids take turns choosing a weekend activity for their self or the family. This gives them a sense of control and ownership over their well-being. You might end up at a batting cage one week, or canoeing down a river the next.
  • Keep some active toys on hand to encourage kids to play outside such as a bike, jump rope, basketball, beach ball, soccer ball, hula-hoops, and Frisbees.

Naturally, all our parental encouragement will be for naught unless we practice what we preach and model an active lifestyle for our kids. Doing so is likely one of the best gifts we can give our children, not only because it influences their behavior, but because it will optimize our own health, mood, and energy level.

Source: Science Daily; Healthy Children; WebMD; Active
Photo credit: Eric Lumsden

*For an average sized adult 1,000 steps is about a half mile.

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

It is estimated that 80,000 children and adolescents each year are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Juvenile diabetes is diagnosed when the body...

As the summer months come to an end, we throw aside our swimsuits and bring out our favorite team jerseys! In America, fall means football, and...

The medical community relies heavily on the goodwill of its citizens, as giving blood and organ donations help save thousands of lives every year...

Evidence is mounting that consuming black cumin helps to manage type 2 diabetes. The spice lowered blood glucose...

It's not uncommon to spend several years living with type 2 diabetes and not even know you have the condition. Despite regular check-ups with your...

More Articles

Type 2 diabetes has become so common in Western culture and media that this often lifelong, serious condition doesn't really raise an eyebrow...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Lantus is a once a day insulin injection that is taken at the same time every day. It replaces anywhere from the average three to five insulin...

Improving your A1C reading requires you to maintain consistently healthy blood...

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't help your community by being a blood donor. When persons with diabetes maintain good control...

Most of us do not regularly keep the fruit that scientists call Fortunella margarita in our refrigerator. That these small, yellow-orange...

A diagnosis of diabetes usually comes with a list of recommended lifestyle changes. To make these diet and exercise...

Having diabetes affects your body’s ability to handle hot, humid weather, and steamy temperatures can degrade diabetes supplies. But all of this...

Fashion and function come together in clothing developed by AnnaPS, making life a bit more comfortable and convenient for insulin users. The...

Not only is dry skin uncomfortable, but scratched or cracked skin is also susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections – common medical...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Financial aid and scholarship money are available for people with diabetes, but acquiring it requires an investment of time and patience. Whether...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

Smoking is a proven health hazard for everyone, but it is an especially dangerous habit for those with diabetes. Research shows that smokers with...

While life on the road can be tough on musicians, it’s especially challenging for those battling diabetes. Some musicians have to check their...