The One Way to Slash Your Diabetes Risk 60%
Here's some good news if you are one of the 88 million American adults—that's 1 in 3 people—who have prediabetes (84% don't know it, so take this test to see if you might): losing a little weight may help you avoid getting type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition that affects how your body metabolizes sugar. And diabetes is certainly something to avoid; it often worsens into other health problems like cardiovascular disease, eye damage, kidney disease, and dementia.
The good news is that with some simple lifestyle adjustments, it's not too difficult to decrease your risk of developing diabetes. A large, long-term study of people with prediabetes found that those who lost just 7% of their body weight by eating fewer calories and exercising 150 minutes a week reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. Prediabetics who were age 60 or older who lost that amount of weight saw a 71% reduction in risk. That equates to just 20 minutes of exercise a week—and it doesn't have to be in a gym. Walking at a brisk pace of 3 miles per hour can count towards your exercise minutes. (Related: 30 Tips When You're Walking for Weight Loss.)
The landmark study suggests that losing a modest amount of weight through diet and exercise is one of the best moves you can make to dramatically improve your health today. What's a modest amount? For someone who weighs 160 pounds, 7% weight loss amounts to about 11 pounds. You can lose that in two or three weeks of fairly easy lifestyle changes. For someone weighing 280 pounds, that's about 20 pounds to reap the diabetes prevention effects, according to the study.
You can follow a CDC-approved curriculum with lessons, handouts, and other resources based on the National Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Change Program used by participants in the study.
Examples of lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of diabetes include: dealing with stress, stop smoking, exercising, and watching your alcohol intake. And for some helpful weight loss diet tips check out The 12 Best Carbs to Eat for a Flat Belly.
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