Most Type 2 diabetes results from being overweight or obese. A well known, large U.S. randomized trial conducted several years ago showed that moderate weight loss from increased activity and diet changes can prevent diabetes. A group of people at high risk of developing diabetes who had weight loss of only 7% after exercise and diet changes showed a 58% reduction in the onset of diabetes, vs. a control group with no changes. For example, 7% weight loss for a 200 pound woman would equate to just 14 pounds. In the study, medication use also prevented or delayed the onset of diabetes, but not as much as increased activity and diet changes. The moderate weight loss group set an exercise goal of 150 minutes per week (or 30 minutes, 5 days per week) of medium intensity activity, such as brisk walking, and ate a reduced calorie, low fat diet.
Your first step is to know whether you are at risk for developing diabetes. Talk with your provider.
Next, the National Diabetes Education Program identified several simple things that you can do to help prevent Type 2 diabetes. Here are five of our favorites!
1. Drink water instead of juice or soda.
2. Choose brown rice instead of white rice.
3. Find some type of regular physical activity that you like. Try for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you can’t get outside or to a gym, you could even march in place while you watch TV.
4. Compare food labels on packages. Look for lower calorie, lower fat, and lower sodium foods.
5. Write down what you eat for a week, or even a day. It can help you see when you tend to overeat or eat foods high in fat or calories.