Making health a family affair

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Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 3:31 am, Thu Aug 21, 2014.

(BPT) - Life is busy. And sometimes - in all of its craziness - it’s easy to lose track of what’s really important: health and family.

“Our children have always been the center of our world, and when they recently started eating healthy, my husband Rev Run and I were inspired to begin our own journey toward better health,” says Justine Simmons. “Our work with Novo Nordisk has helped us understand how important it is to make healthy choices.”

Justine and Rev Run decided to take a Diabetes Risk Factor Assessment and when they learned that they both have several risk factors, including being African American and having a family history of the disease, they knew it was time to take responsibility for their health.

“Knowing we are at risk, I made sure my husband and I were screened for diabetes by our doctors. Although we do not have the disease, we accepted that we had to make healthy lifestyle changes not only for ourselves, but also for our family,” says Justine. “If we do nothing, our family’s history could impact our family’s future. And our children are too important to us for that.”

So, Justine and Rev Run made their health a family affair and teamed up with Novo Nordisk on the Ask.Screen.Know. campaign to encourage families like yours to do the same. Together, they are urging Americans aged 45 or older to learn about type 2 diabetes risk factors, and they’re raising awareness of the need for early screening.

Today, the Simmons family takes steps to live healthily together. Instead of snacking on junk food, they now stock the fridge with better options like fresh fruits and vegetables. In those moments when Justine or Rev still wants something sweet, they satisfy their craving with some strawberries instead of a candy bar.

“My personal favorite adjustment is our new approach to family dinners,” says Justine. “We’re always looking for low fat ingredients to pump up the flavor of our meals. Now, we replace potatoes with delicious vegetables like Brussels sprouts - which are surprisingly filling - to make our dinners even healthier. Cooking and eating healthy together ensures we all stay on a healthy track and gives us the time we cherish to be together.”

Most importantly, since Justine and Rev are at risk, they make sure they continue to be screened for type 2 diabetes each year. The thought of tests and diabetes is enough to make anyone nervous. But as Rev Run always says, it’s okay to “do it afraid.” Justine is comforted by the fact that she doesn’t have to take control of her health alone. The Simmons family supports and motivates each other to stay on track with healthy habits. In fact, their son Diggy inspires them to stay active with his regular exercise routine. Now, at the end of a busy day, the Simmons relax and bond as a family by taking walks instead of sitting on the couch.

You too can work together to live healthy lives. In order for you to be there for your family and enjoy life to the fullest, you have to take care of yourself - and knowing if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes is the first step. The earlier you know you are at risk, the earlier you can do something about it.

Find out if you have any risk factors by taking the Diabetes Risk Factor Assessment at AskScreenKnow.com. If not for yourself, do it for your family. In addition to the Diabetes Risk Factor Assessment, you can visit AskScreenKnow.com to learn how to make some of our family’s healthy dishes in the Recipes for Healthy Living Guide and to download the Dinnertime Conversation and Just Ask: Questions for Your Doctor guides with information about how to start important conversations about diabetes and getting screened, together.

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