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Strategies for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

November 19, 2023

Our Diabetes Awareness Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness of diabetes. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout the month of November. Each article will cover different aspects of diabetes, offering information and resources aimed at reducing the stigma associated with diabetes, encouraging early diagnosis, and promoting healthy lifestyle choices to prevent and manage diabetes effectively.

Diabetes is a widespread disease throughout the world, affecting approximately 573 million adults in 2023. Rates of diabetes are estimated to reach 783 million by 2045. Type 2 diabetes accounts for most cases and is projected to significantly increase over time. Type 2 diabetes can affect patients' daily lives through physical limitations and significant financial burdens. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

One of the first ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes is to set a weight loss goal if you are overweight. Overweight and obesity is one of the most well-known risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. In patients with pre-diabetes, losing 5% of body weight may be enough to reverse pre-diabetes.

Another closely related prevention strategy is to follow a healthier eating plan. This can be through a structured nutrition plan or by simply making different food choices. The most important thing when starting a new eating style is the ability to remain consistent. Some foods to avoid include processed foods, foods with trans fats, sugary drinks, and alcohol. The healthier food options are things like non-starchy vegetables, fruit, lean meat, whole grains, and unsweetened beverages.

Exercise is another crucial way to prevent Type 2 diabetes. The recommended amount of activity is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. However, any activity is always better than nothing. Aiming for lower amounts of activity, such as 60 minutes per week when starting out, and gradually increasing to 150 minutes over time may be more realistic. Physical activity can be anything that increases breathing and heart rate, for example, a brisk walk or another hobby such as playing a sport or dancing.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious, chronic condition affecting numerous patients worldwide; however, there are some easy ways to prevent it. A combination of weight loss for those who are overweight, making healthier food choices, and regular exercise will minimize the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It is important to focus on consistency with these changes rather than following these guidelines perfectly. Preventing Type 2 diabetes must be able to work for the long term.