4 Lifestyle Choices to Minimize Your Risk of Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month. It’s a good time to share ways you can reduce your risk of this common, yet serious, condition. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates more than one-third of the nation’s adult population (about 88 million Americans) have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, prediabetes is just one of many factors that increases your risk of diabetes. Since diabetes has the potential to affect anyone, everyone needs to know these lifestyle choices that can lower your diabetes risk.



Lose Excess Weight

Being overweight is a significant risk factor for diabetes. The good news is modest amounts of weight loss may yield big results. One study found losing as little as 11 pounds, which represented an average of five to seven percent of participants’ body weight, decreased diabetes risk by 55 percent. 


Improve Nutrition

Eating for diabetes prevention means embracing a well-balanced diet that also promotes weight loss and overall health. Your eating plan should be rich in lean protein, low-fat dairy, and high-fiber foods such as whole grains, vegetables, beans, and fruit. High fiber foods are important because they help blood sugar control. Also, recent research suggests eating two servings of whole grains daily can lower your diabetes risk by 29 percent. Sugary drinks and processed meats may raise diabetes risk. Consider limiting or avoiding them.


Make Regular Exercise a Priority

Regular physical activity has long been associated with a decreased risk of diabetes. Of course, exercise also promotes weight loss. Exercising 30 minutes a day is beneficial. Both resistance training and aerobic exercises like walking have been shown to minimize diabetes risk. If you’re currently sedentary, you should speak with your primary care provider before starting a new fitness program. 


Avoid Smoking

Smokers have a far greater risk of diabetes than nonsmokers. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Smokers should speak to their primary healthcare providers about enrolling in a smoking cessation program