Approximately 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and at least 86 million Americans aged >20 years have prediabetes. Type 2 diabetes was once more common in people aged >45 years, but is now appearing more in young people and children. Although many factors can increase your risk for diabetes, disease onset can be delayed or even prevented. The following tips may help to lower your risk for diabetes:
- Set an Achievable Weight-Loss Goal
Weight loss is essential to preventing diabetes. If you are overweight or obese, aim to set realistic goals and lose >5% to 10% of your current weight; that’s equivalent to losing 10 to 20 lb if you weigh 200 lb, for example.
- Make Healthy Food Choices
Eating healthy foods can help you reach your weight-loss goal. Consider consuming fewer calories than you burn during the day, and eating less fat—especially saturated and trans fats—as well as smaller portions of high-fat and high-calorie foods than you normally do.
- Stay Active
The more you move, the more calories you burn. Therefore, staying active can help you achieve your weight-loss goals and be healthy. Engage in moderately intense physical activity, such as dancing, swimming, biking—or any exercise that gets your heart rate up—for >30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
- Write It Down
Keep track of what you eat and drink throughout the day, and make note of how many minutes of physical activity you engage in. This will help you focus on your goals, and, as you lose weight, help you reach a sense of personal achievement.
- Regulate Meal Times and Portion Sizes
Aim to eat meals and snacks at regular times each day, and use smaller plates to give yourself the impression that your portions are larger than they are. Because it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to perceive that your stomach is full, it is recommended that you take your time when you eat.
- US Department of Health & Human Services; National Institutes of Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Small steps. Big rewards. Your game plan to prevent type 2 diabetes: information for patients. http://ndep.nih.gov/media/NDEP60_GAMEPLAN_4c_508.pdf. Reviewed October 1, 2006. Accessed September 9, 2015.