Insulin is a hormone produced in the body. It helps glucose (sugar) move out of the blood and into body tissue for use as energy. Excess body weight makes your tissue less responsive to insulin. This can lead to high blood glucose levels. By losing weight, your body tissue will be more sensitive to insulin and will be better able to use insulin.
Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes in two ways:
Heart disease is a common complication of diabetes. Regular exercise can help lower the levels of fat and cholesterol in your blood and lower your blood pressure. This will decrease your risk for heart disease.
Choose exercises that you enjoy. Make it part of your daily routine. Strive to maintain an exercise program that keeps you fit and at a healthy weight. The goal should be to exercise for at least 150 minutes/week. This should be moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, riding a bicycle, playing tennis, or doing water aerobics. In addition, strength training should be done at least twice a week. Examples of strength training include using free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands.
Before you start any exercise program, talk to your doctor. It is important that you wear a diabetes identification bracelet when you exercise.
Too little sleep can contribute to weight gain. Aim for 7-8 hours of good sleep each night.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers these guidelines for reducing your risk of developing diabetes:
If you want to change your eating habits, ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietician. A dietician can help you create an individualized eating plan that includes all of the nutrients your body needs.
Medicines commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes may also be prescribed to prevent the condition in people who are at high risk. Examples of of these medicines include:
American Diabetes Association. American Diabetes Association position statement: standards of medical care in diabetes 2010. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:S1-S99.
American Diabetes Association. Executive summary: standards of medical care in diabetes—2010. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:S4-S10.
Diabetes mellitus type 2. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated December 28, 2012. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Evidence-based nutrition principles and recommendations for the treatment and prevention of diabetes and related complications. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/suppl_1/s50.full?loc=what-to-do-prediabetes . Accessed December 31, 2012.
Measuring physical activity intensity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/measuring/ . Updated December 1, 2011. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Resistance training: beginners. The Better Health Channel website. Available at: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Resistance_training . Accessed December 31, 2012.
What to do if you have prediabetes. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/pre-diabetes/if-you-have-prediabetes.html . Accessed December 31, 2012.
11/29/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Lindstrom J, Ilanne-Parikka P, Peltonen M, et al. Sustained reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes by lifestyle intervention: follow-up of the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study. Lancet . 2006;368(9548):1673-1679.
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10/5/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Carter P, Gray LJ, Troughton J, Khunti K, Davies MJ. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010;341:c4229.
1/31/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Salas-Salvadó J, Bulló M, Babio N, Martínez-González MÁ, et al. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with the Mediterranean diet: results of the PREDIMED-Reus nutrition intervention randomized trial. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(1):14-19.
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Last reviewed September 2013 by Kim Carmichael, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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