In spring 2016, Sandra Hernandez took her 10-year-old daughter Abby for her annual check-up. There, the physician shared that her daughter’s glucose levels were high. With a long family history of diabetes, Sandra knew it was time to act. She wanted to give her daughter more control over her health.
As a member of the YMCA, Sandra had seen flyers for Get Up & Go by Children’s Health℠ supported by Kohl's Cares. The weight management program teaches participants healthy lifestyle habits through improved nutrition and exercise. She requested a referral from her daughter’s physician, and together, Sandra and Abby enrolled. They knew the classes would be educational and good for their health – but what they didn’t know was how much they would enjoy going.
“Exercise no longer feels like a chore,” Sandra says. “The teachers made it fun and something we could enjoy together.”
Sandra and Abby learned about making healthy choices such as incorporating more vegetables into their diet, not eating out of boredom or sadness, and exercising regularly. But Sandra says one of the most helpful things she learned was about communication and the right way to motivate her daughter.
“Instead of saying, ‘Go out there and exercise,’ now I say, ‘let’s go together,’” she explains. “The teachers showed me how to talk with Abby and how to make it fun. Now Abby’s attitude towards exercise has completely changed.”
Shortly after graduating from the program in July 2016, Abby had a follow-up doctor appointment. Her glucose levels had dropped. “It was such good news,” Sandra says. “The physician said whatever it is you’re doing, keep it up.”
Sandra and Abby continue to exercise together whether yoga, weight lifting or a Zumba class. “We motivate each other,” Sandra adds. “If one of us does not feel like working out that day, we will encourage each other to get out there.” And while not every meal is perfect, they are focusing on making smarter and more balanced nutrition choices.
Sandra was so grateful for the program, that she’s even started working as a Get Up & Go coach, helping with the classes and motivating others. “I just wish that everyone knew about this program,” she shares. “So many people could benefit. I really think those 10 weeks gave my daughter and me an extra 10 years of our lives.”
One of the most effective ways you can prevent type 2 diabetes is by eating healthy and incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Interested in learning more about healthier habits for your family? Read more about pediatric weight management programs that include Get Up & Go, COACH, bariatrics and nutrition clinics.
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