AHA, ADA: Diabetes harder to manage during holidays, so keep health goals on track
Nearly half of people with type 2 diabetes said it is more difficult to manage their condition during the holiday season than at other times, according to a survey from the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association.
The survey conducted on behalf of the associations’ joint initiative, Know Diabetes by Heart, included more than 1,000 U.S. adults 45 and older. Around 28% of the participants said their main concern is staying on top of their health goals during the holiday season, while 15% were concerned about finances and 14% were concerned about safe gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding nutrition, only 52% of respondents reported they believed they had a lot or complete control over dietary choices during a holiday week like Christmas, whereas 73% reported having a lot or complete control during a normal week, according to the survey.
“The holidays provide challenges to staying heart healthy for many people, but especially for those managing conditions closely tied to daily nutrition, like type 2 diabetes,” Robert Eckel, MD, FAHA, immediate past president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, past president of the American Heart Association, and an endocrinologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said in a press release.
According to the survey, the ambassadors of Know Diabetes by Heart recommend that people with diabetes:
- Take control of the kitchen and cook something that is healthy and diet friendly.
- Prepare for holiday events by bringing a dish to a party or making the host aware of dietary restrictions and needs. Alternatively, eat before the party to lessen the chances of eating unhealthy things.
- Pack healthy snacks and food to keep health goals in check while travelling.
- Create healthy traditions and prep individual portions of dessert. Remain active by finding a way to exercise after dinner, like short walks.
- Make home a safe zone by keeping unhealthy dishes and foods out of the house.
“Even if you don’t have diabetes yourself, it’s important to create healthy environments for our friends and family members who do,” Eckel said in the release.