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How to Stay Healthy With Type 2 Diabetes

Kids who have type 2 diabetes can feel good and avoid health problems later. Here are 5 things to do:

  1. Eat a balanced diet.
  2. Stay active.
  3. Aim for a healthy weight.
  4. Check blood sugar levels often.
  5. Take medicine if the doctor recommends it.

Your personal diabetes care plan can help you stay on track. It’s the best way to keep your blood sugar levels (blood glucose levels) in a healthy range. Ask your care team to tell you all about your plan.

  • 90-Second Summary: Type 2 Diabetes

    90-Second Summary: Type 2 Diabetes

    Learn the basics in 90 seconds.

Why Do Kids With Type 2 Diabetes Need to Eat Healthy?

Eating healthy means getting plenty of fruits and veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. Kids who eat healthy are more likely to get to a healthy weight. And a healthy weight can help blood sugar levels stay steady — not too high or too low.

Some kids like to follow a diabetes meal plan made just for them by their care team. A meal plan recommends foods for meals and snacks. It can show you what portion sizes are right for you. It might help you understand how carbs, proteins, and fats work in your body. Your care team can tell you more.

Why Do Kids With Type 2 Diabetes Need to Stay Active?

Staying active:

  • helps kids stay at a healthy weight
  • lowers blood sugar levels
  • is good for your body and mind

There are many ways to stay active — like playing tag, jumping rope, or climbing at the playground. You can even include doing chores around the house, like vacuuming or carrying groceries.

Kids with type 2 diabetes should ask their doctor how to stay active safely. That’s because exercise can make blood sugar levels change, so you want to know what to do if you don't feel right while exercising.

How Can Kids With Type 2 Diabetes Aim for a Healthy Weight?

Eating healthy and staying active are key to getting to a healthy weight. Your doctor can tell you what weight is best for you and share tips to help you get there.

Why Do Kids With Type 2 Diabetes Need to Check Blood Sugar Levels?

In kids with type 2 diabetes, the body’s insulin doesn't work well. When this happens, blood sugar can rise. If it gets too high, a kid can feel sick and have health problems.

Testing your blood sugar tells you if your numbers are in a healthy range, or if they’re too high or too low. The numbers help you and your doctor know how well your diabetes care plan is working.

Your diabetes care team will tell you what your blood sugar levels should be and when you should test. Most kids with type 2 diabetes have to test at least twice a day with a blood glucose meter.

Some kids use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) instead of blood glucose meter. A CGM is a wearable device that measures blood sugar every few minutes, 24 hours a day. It gives the care team a lot of information that can help kids with type 2 diabetes keep blood sugars in a healthy range.

How Do Medicines Help Some Kids With Type 2 Diabetes?

Some kids with type 2 diabetes need medicine to help their blood sugars. The medicines work in different ways:

  • Some medicines help kids make or use insulin better.
  • Other medicines send extra glucose out of the body in pee.
  • A manmade type of insulin helps glucose get inside the cells. Kids who need insulin get insulin shots or wear an insulin pump.

Kids who eat healthy foods, stay active, and get to a good weight might be able to keep their blood sugar levels in a normal range. If they can, they might not even need to take medicines at all.

Reviewed by: Melanie L. Pitone, MD
Date Reviewed: Jan 17, 2024

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