According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and 90-95% of them have Type 2 diabetes, which is preventable.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a variety of resources on Type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment. These three tips are key to lowering your risk.
- Set a realistic weight goal. Excess weight is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 25, set an attainable goal for gradual weight loss. Experts say a good short-term goal is a 1-2 pound loss per week. Weight loss not only reduces your risk for diabetes, but also reduces the risk of heart disease and other illnesses.
- Eat smarter. Eating a balanced diet is key to reaching your weight loss goal. Opt for low-fat, low-calorie nutrition plans that you can incorporate into your lifestyle and maintain. Start by making small changes, like snacking on veggies instead of chips or reaching for water instead of soda. Watch your portion sizes, filling half your plate with fruits and veggies, one quarter with lean meat and one quarter with whole grains. Check your food’s nutrition labels, and cut back on items that are high in trans-fats, saturated fats and sugar. Healthy eating impacts your weight, mood and energy, and it lowers your risk of many diseases.
- Get active. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. Find an activity you enjoy that gets your body moving, such as dancing, walking or taking an online aerobics class. Take “movement breaks” throughout the day, even if it’s just a quick walk around your office building or neighborhood. The more you move, the more you reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
For more tips on prevention, visit the NIH’s website.