Kids get in tune with preventing type 2 diabetes

(O.P.S.) Staying active is important for all of us – but did you know that many Canadian children are simply not getting the amount of physical activity they need to stay healthy? While a sedentary lifestyle can lead to health problems later in life, many children are experiencing health problems today that are a direct result of their inactivity.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most serious long-term illnesses facing Canadian children today. In fact, the number of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has jumped 15-fold since 1990 due to obesity, poor nutrition and lack of exercise1. This trend coincides with the rising prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity among children. In 2004, more than a quarter of Canadian children and adolescents aged two to 17 were considered overweight or obese2.

The good news is, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by modifying the two major risk factors – obesity and physical activity. So what can parents and teachers do to encourage kids to get off the couch and get active?


One program, called Everyone Jump…Kids Changing Diabetes is changing the way kids think about getting active. Based on the curriculum-based teacher?s guide and music CD developed by Ophea (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association) and sponsored by Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., this unique school-based concert tour will reach 15,000 students in 100 schools in Calgary, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Ontario this fall. Through fun and interactive song and dance, children learn how physical activity and healthy eating can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Grade five students can also participate in an educational challenge by demonstrating their awareness and understanding of type 2 diabetes and how to prevent it. To complete the challenge, students are asked to submit a written paragraph, song lyrics or poster to showcase what they have learned. Winning students receive a Registered Education Savings Plan prize and fitness equipment for their school.

If you would like more information about the program, please go to or email


Parents should also encourage their kids to be active on a regular basis outside of school. Set limits on video game play and computer time and encourage kids to get outside and play. Try a new family activity each week that promotes physical activity, such as bike rides around the neighbourhood, or walks through the woods. Most importantly, be a role model! Eat healthy and stay active – and you?ll reap the benefits, too!

Defeating Diabetes

Did you know that type 2 diabetes is increasing in Canadian children? Obesity and physical inactivity are key contributors – and if diabetes is not managed properly, it can lead to serious long-term complications, including heart, kidney, eye and nerve problems.

Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., in partnership with Ophea (Ontario Physical and Health Education Association), is bringing Everyone Jump…Kids Changing Diabetes to Canadian schools this fall. This school-based concert tour with curriculum for teachers shows children through song and dance how physical activity and healthy eating can help prevent serious illness, and build a foundation for long-term health.

Here is a fun activity adapted from the Everyone Jump…Kids Changing Diabetes Teacher?s Guide that kids can enjoy at home with their friends and family.

How to play:

~ Choose a fast-paced song that you love to listen to and that will get you up and moving!

~ Pick a word that is repeated often in the song

~ Begin by sitting and listening to the song

~ The first time you hear the word you chose in the song stand up and walk on the spot

~ The second time you hear the word, jump on one foot

~ The third time you hear the word, jump up and down on your left foot

~ The fourth time you hear the word, walk on the spot and wave your hands in the air

You may want to put up a chart with the order of activities so that kids can follow along with the song. Challenge the kids to pay attention and respond as quickly as possible once they hear the word.

For more information on Everyone Jump…Kids Changing Diabetes, email