5 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Key lifestyle habits can greatly reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Contributing to a variety of health complications, including heart disease, kidney problems and stroke, type 2 diabetes has a critical impact on the quality of life for many Americans. Even with a family history of the disease, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by making key habits part of your daily life.
“Preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle choice that you have to make and maintain,” says Christina Holtz, D.O., family practice physician at Main Street Family Physicians in Frisco, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “It’s not a temporary measure, but it’s not unsustainable. Start by making simple changes that you can realistically incorporate into your life and go from there.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, making as many of the lifestyle choices below as possible will yield the best results.
• Eat a healthy diet. Aim for three to five servings of vegetables and two to three servings of fruit per day. Other items on the menu should include lean meats, non-fat dairy products and whole grains. Remember to pay close attention to portion control and enjoy desserts in moderation.
• Exercise. You don’t have to hit the gym every night, but you should get moving every day.
“Regular exercise is one of the most effective tools to fight the onset of type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Holtz says. “Walking is a great option. It’s relatively low-impact and accessible to everyone.”
• Drink in moderation. Some studies suggest that drinking a limited amount of alcohol — two drinks per day for men and one drink for women — may help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
• Go smoke-free. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers have a higher risk for developing diabetes — 30 to 40 percent, to be specific.
• Keep weight in check. Talk with your doctor about the healthiest weight for you. Together, you can determine your healthiest body mass index (BMI) and ways to achieve it. Sticking with a healthy diet and regular exercise plan should help you meet your desired goal.
It’s Never Too Late
Even if you are already living with type 2 diabetes, adapting healthier habits can still help with management and possibly even reversal of the disease.
“Depending on the severity of your type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes may have a strong impact, especially if you are younger,” Dr. Holtz says. “Younger kids dealing with obesity is a growing epidemic, but we can confront and overcome this challenge — and potentially reduce additional cases of type 2 diabetes — through effective communication and adherence to healthy habits.”
For more information about diabetes and to take a diabetes risk assessment, visit TexasHealth.org/Diabetes.
Physicians employed by Texas Health Physicians Group practice independently and are not employees of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.