Type 2 Diabetes: 5 Simple Prevention Tips for Families
It’s easier to make healthy choices when you have support. Here are five simple things you can do, starting today, to lower your family’s risk of type 2 diabetes.
By: Sue Cotey and Andrea Harris, RNs
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As more people develop diabetes each year, you may worry about the risks for you and your family. But, here’s the good news: You can do something about those risks.
Taking some simple steps now can help you avoid type 2 diabetes. In fact, making healthy lifestyle changes now can head off nearly three-quarters of all cases.
Having someone cheering you on at home makes it easier to make positive lifestyle changes. As a parent, spouse or caregiver, you can keep yourself and your family healthy by understanding your diabetes risk and making better choices for everyone.
Here are five ways to reduce your family’s risk of type 2 diabetes:
The American Diabetes Association offers an online risk test to help you estimate your risk for type 2 diabetes.
It’s higher for those who:
You don’t need to run miles a day to reduce your diabetes risk. Simply moving around — and including your family in the activity — will help you lose weight and lower your risk.
Taking the dog for a walk, walking around the mall, playing catch or joining a sports league are all good ways to get your family up and moving around. The goal is to work in some kind of physical activity for at least 150 minutes each week.
Here are some simple tips for improving your nutrition:
If you or your family have some weight to lose, you’re not alone. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends cutting the calories you consume by 500 to 1,000 a day to lose one to two pounds a week.
Work to lose between 5 percent and 7 percent of your current body weight. (For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, that’s a 10- to 14-pound loss).
Just doing that much can lower your blood glucose levels. It will also improve risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
There are many programs available across the country to help you and your family lower your diabetes risk.
More than 200 YMCA programs nationwide offer 25 one-hour sessions over a year for people with prediabetes (where blood glucose levels are high, but not yet in the range of diabetes).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers a year-long lifestyle change program with education, a lifestyle coach and support groups.
If you suspect that someone in your family is at risk for type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can either provide information or direct you to resources to help you make important lifestyle changes.