The onset of type 2 diabetes is closely linked to an unhealthy lifestyle. Unsurprisingly, a vast majority of people with this disease are either overweight or obese; American Diabetes Association’s statistics indicate that over 80% of persons suffering from type 2 diabetes are obese/overweight. However, contrary what many may believe, diabetes prevention is possible and proven. Studies have shown that with appropriate measures, those at high risks of developing diabetes can delay its onset or even prevent it altogether.
One may be diabetic and not know it. Some features such as heredity, behavior, eating habits, high cholesterol, and hypertension can be risk factors and indicators. The basis of prevention, therefore, lies in the effective management of these risk factors. However, there are basic steps that can be taken to prevent diabetes type II.
According to experts, weight control, healthy diet and exercise form the basis of type 2 diabetes prevention. One study – that is, the Diabetes Prevention Program – showed that individuals at risk that exercised 30 minutes a day and managed to lose 5% to 7% of their body weight decreased their risk by 58%.
Being overweight has the effect of increasing insulin needs which overworks the pancreas. It is the body mass index (BMI) that determines the healthy weight of a person. It is useful to regularly calculate the BMI and take appropriate actions where necessary. A healthy and varied diet helps maintain a healthy weight. It also helps maintain relatively stable blood glucose levels throughout the day, as well as good blood pressure. To do this, eat 5 meals a day but take smaller helpings each time, avoid excess animal fat and added sugars (glucose, fructose, dextrose, etc.), focus on the high-fiber foods.
Regular physical activity helps eliminate superfluous kilos and maintain a healthy weight. In addition, being active causes insulin to act more effectively. It is recommended to engage in exercise at least 2 hours 30 minutes per week, distributing physical activity throughout the week in periods of at least 10 minutes at a time (brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, etc).
It is important to gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise. Physical activity in itself can significantly reduce the risk of becoming diabetic. As a matter of fact, a recent study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases shows that even a slight increase in the frequency and intensity of physical activity has beneficial effects on health. This improves the insulin performance, train the cardiovascular system, and also normalize blood pressure and lipid levels. Regular physical activity also has psychological effects such as decreased anxiety and stress, improves self-confidence and joy.
In general, with appropriate lifestyle choices, type 2 diabetes can be kept at a distance.