• HS - Preventing Diabetes

    By Brooke Benton MS, RD, LDN, CDE 
    Faculty, Nutrition Sciences, School of Health Sciences

    Diabetes is a rapidly growing public health concern affecting 30 million Americans. But, the good news is, there are lifestyle changes that could help decrease ones chances of developing type 2 diabetes! Diabetes is a rapidly growing public health concern affecting almost 10% of the United States population, which includes 30 million adults and children. Prediabetes, the precursor to diabetes, affects 86 million Americans. According to the American Diabetes Association, is estimated that the national cost of diabetes, both direct medical costs and indirect costs, is $245 billion. 

    Just as alarming as these numbers are, the complications associated with diabetes can take even more of a toll on one's health. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and new cases of blindness. It nearly doubles the risk for heart disease, and the amputation rate is 10 times higher than someone without diabetes (American Diabetes Association, 2015). But, the good news is, there are lifestyle changes that can decrease ones chances of developing type 2 diabetes!

    November is American Diabetes Month so this is the perfect time to share some tips to prevent diabetes.

    • Know Your Risk. 8.1 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes (American Diabetes Association, 2015). So the first step to preventing diabetes is knowing your risk. Here is a link to the American Diabetes Association Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/
    • Take the Pounds Off and Keep Them Off. When someone is overweight or obese, it makes them 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone who is at a healthy weight (Hu, et al, 2001). Research shows that losing weight, even just 10 pounds, give great health benefits. One of which is lowering blood sugar. And how do you do that? Being active and eating healthy!
    • Get Moving. Being physically active helps muscles use insulin, absorb glucose, and in turn, regulate blood glucose levels. Try to think of ways you can be more physically active in your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the back of the parking lot, or even take 2 minute breaks every hour to do jumping jacks while at work. Get creative! Additionally, cut down on TV/screen time. One study showed that for every 2 hours someone spends on screen time instead of being active increases the chances of developing diabetes by 20% (Grøntved, 2011). So let's get active!
    • Practice Portion Control. Many people underestimate what they are eating. So break out the measuring cups and measure your portions, especially with carbohydrates, before putting them on your plate. Carbohydrates are especially important when it comes to portion control since they are the foods broken down into glucose. For someone who has diabetes, eating too much carbohydrate can increase blood glucose. The foods with the highest amount of carbohydrate are starches, starchy vegetables, fruit, milk, yogurt, and anything that is an overt source of sugar.
    • Fill up on the Fiber. Fiber has many wonderful health benefits, one of which is a slower increase in blood sugar. This in turn doesn't put as much stress on pancreas, which makes insulin, and, according to Ludwig (2002) may help prevent type 2 diabetes. Most people don't get the recommended 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day-so try to eat more fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, veggies, and beans.



    Fast Facts: Data and Statistics about Diabetes. (2015, March 1). Retrieved October 5, 2015, from http://professional.diabetes.org/admin/UserFiles/0 - Sean/Documents/Fast_Facts_3-2015.pdf

    Grøntved, A. (2011). Television Viewing and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and All-Cause Mortality. JAMA, 2448-2448.

    Hu, F., Manson, J., Stampfer, M., Colditz, G., Liu, S., Solomon, C., & Willett, W. (2001). Diet, Lifestyle, and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Women. New England Journal of Medicine N Engl J Med, 790-797.

    Ludwig, D. (2002). The Glycemic Index. JAMA, 2414-2414.


    Brooke Benton is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University. Always speak with a health care professional regarding any questions you may have about medical issues.                 

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