Do these four things now to avoid type 2 diabetes

According to Diabetes Australia, type 2 diabetes represents almost 90 per cent of all cases of diabetes. It is diagnosed when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (reduced insulin production) and/or the insulin does not work effectively and/or the cells of the body do not respond to insulin effectively (known as insulin resistance).

The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) reports that 69,456 people with type 2 diabetes were registered with them over the 12 months prior to 30 June 2021. This is equivalent to 190 new registrants with type 2 diabetes every day.

Many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented, or put into remission, with changes to diet and lifestyle.

Read: Signs you might have type 2 diabetes

There are all sorts of risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, and Karen Davies, senior clinical adviser at Diabetes UK, warns: “Type 2 diabetes is complex, and while there are some risk factors for developing the condition that you can’t change – such as age and family history – there are others you can.

“Obesity is the biggest risk factor, accounting for around 80-85 per cent of your risk of developing the condition. Taking steps to keep your weight within a healthy range is vital.

“Preventative measures have supported hundreds of thousands of people to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Here’s what you can do now to help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

1. Watch your weight
Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, because increased fat makes it harder for the body to use insulin properly, and problems with insulin is what causes diabetes.

Make sure your overall weight and body mass index (BMI) are healthy. If you need to lose weight, it’s usually much easier if you have support, both from friends and family, and perhaps also clubs such as Weight Watchers.

And remember, any weight loss can help and is better than none – a 2007 study by the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group in the US found that for every kilogram of weight lost, there was a 16 per cent reduction in diabetes risk.

2. Check your waist size
Diabetes UK says carrying extra weight around your middle could mean fat has built up around organs, and this fat can stop insulin working properly. The charity says women need to aim for their waist measurement to be less than 80cm (31.5in), most men’s waists should be less than 94cm (37in), and South Asian men, who are more at risk of type 2 diabetes, should try to keep their waist size less than 90cm (35in). There’s no easy fix for reducing waist size, it’s a case of losing weight and exercising regularly.

3. Eat a healthy balanced diet
Whether you need to lose weight or not, eating a good diet is important for your overall health as well as reducing your diabetes risk. Certain foods, such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, have been shown to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Read: The diet that can put type 2 diabetes into remission

Diabetes UK suggests a diet that can help reduce your diabetes risk should include: reducing or cutting out sugary drinks, including avoiding sugar in tea and coffee; eating wholegrains like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats instead of white bread, white rice and sugary breakfast cereals (refined carbs); cutting down on red and processed meat and getting protein from healthier foods like pulses such as beans and lentils, eggs, fish, chicken and turkey and unsalted nuts instead; eating plenty of fruit and vegetables; reducing salt, and eating unsweetened yoghurt and cheese, as fermented dairy products have been linked with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

“By eating a healthy balanced diet containing fruit and veg, and low in saturated fats, and keeping physically active, people can reduce their risk of developing the condition,” stresses Ms Davies.

4. Move more
You don’t have to work up a sweat in the gym for hours every day to help reduce your risk of diabetes – regularly taking a brisk walk, playing a sport or even just taking the stairs instead of using the lift at work every day, will all help. Moving more will help you lose weight, as well as reducing your waist size and blood pressure.

Read: Beating the excuses not to exercise

Just start gradually by doing something you enjoy, like walking or gardening, and build up your activity levels. If you’re worried about your health or risk of diabetes, always speak to your GP.

Are you worried about type 2 diabetes? Have you made any lifestyle changes to combat it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

– With PA

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

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