Share this page

Health Library

It is possible to develop type 2 diabetes with or without the risk factors listed below. But, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Sedentary Lifestyle and Poor Dietary Patterns

Type 2 diabetes is very common in the US. A major risk factor is the typical American or Westernized lifestyle, which is characterized by:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Consumption of high-calorie, high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods and beverages, such as sugar-sweetened sodas and juices
  • High intake of processed meats
Sleep Problems

Having sleep problems may put you at an increased risk for diabetes. Sleep problems include having difficulty falling asleep, having difficulty staying asleep, sleeping too long (over nine hours), or not sleeping enough (less than five hours).

Excess Weight and Obesity

Carrying excess weight, especially in the upper body and abdomen, increases your risk of type 2 diabetes. This is especially true for overweight young adults, people who have been overweight for a long time. But is it also true for middle-aged adults who gain weight.

There has been a marked increase in type 2 diabetes among overweight children. Until recently, this disease was rarely found in people under the age of 40. The development of type 2 diabetes is increasingly seen in overweight children.

Insulin is a hormone made in the body. It is needed to move glucose from the blood to body tissue. The tissues of overweight or obese people can become less sensitive to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can lead to diabetes and contribute significantly to many of its complications.

Conditions

Certain conditions that can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:

Age

If you are aged 45 or older, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends screening. Regardless of age, though, if you are overweight and have other risk factors, then you should be screened for diabetes. Overweight children who are aged 10 or older should be screened, as well.

Ethnic Background

In the United States, people of the following ethnic groups are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes:

  • African American
  • Hispanic American
  • Pima Indian
  • Native American
  • Asian American
  • Pacific Islander

Many people in these groups have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes when they do not live in a Westernized culture.

Genetics

Having family members with type 2 diabetes increases your risk of developing the condition.

References:

American Diabetes Association. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus Diabetes Care. 2010;33:S62-S69.

Diabetes mellitus type 2. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 2, 2012. Accessed August 6, 2012.

Diabetes statistics. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics. Accessed August 6, 2012.

2/24/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Liese AD, Weis KE, et al. Food intake patterns associated with incident type 2 diabetes: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study. Diabetes Care. 2009;32:263-268.

12/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Cappuccio FP, D'Elia L, et al. Quantity and quality of sleep and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2009 Nov 12.

2/15/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes—2010. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(suppl 1:S11-61).

2/15/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: American Diabetes Association. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(suppl 1:S62-S69).

7/2/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Micha R, Wallace SK, et al. Red and processed meat consumption and risk of incident coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Circulation. 2010;121(21):2271-2283.

7/2/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Biggs ML, Mukamal KJ, et al. Association between adiposity in midlife and older age and risk of diabetes in older adults. JAMA. 2010;303(24):2504-2512.

1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Pan A, Lucas M, et al. Bidirectional association between depression and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(21):1884-1891.

4/14/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Xi B, Li S, et al. Intake of fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014;9(3):e93471.



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.

Baptist Flame

Healthy Life Podcasts

Find A Doctor

Services

Locations

Baptist Medical Clinic

Patients & Visitors

Learn

Contact Us

Physician Tools

Careers at Baptist

Employee Links

Online Services

At Baptist Health Systems

At Baptist Medical Center

close ×