Diabetes is Preventable
An estimated 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Another 86 million have pre-diabetes, and many of these people may not even know it.
If you have diabetes, you already know managing your blood sugar levels is important to prevent a long list of health problems associated with the disease. If you don't have diabetes, you should do everything you can to avoid developing the disease. And even if a blood test reveals that you have pre-diabetes, research shows that healthy lifestyle habits can help you lower your risk and improve your health.
In fact, in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine researchers followed about 5,000 people for 10 years. They tracked data about their health, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle habits. And they found that lifestyle factors contribute to 9 out of 10 cases of diabetes. In other words, diabetes is mainly a lifestyle disease and is largely preventable.
Here are three ways to lower your risk for diabetes:
1. Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
If you're overweight or obese, losing just 5 to 7 percent of excess body weight can dramatically lower your rise for diabetes. Just 9 to 12 pounds of weight loss for an overweight person who weighs 185 pounds could make a big difference in diabetes risk. Healthy eating, regular exercise, calorie-control, and a support group are effective strategies that can help with weight management.
2. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, the ACSM recommends 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily. At 30 minutes a day, it's as easy as taking two brisk 15-minute walks. Exercise helps burn fat and calories, and strengthens your heart, lungs, and muscles.
3. Eat a healthy, low-fat, calorie-controlled diet
The National Diabetes Education Program also recommends eating a healthy diet that includes foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish, low-fat dairy and soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds, and plenty of water. Flip this recommendation around, and it means you should stay away from fast food, sugary drinks and snacks, and other foods high in calories with little to no nutritional value.
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