A study released in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 found that people who lost a modest amount of weight by eating healthier and exercising more reduced their risk of developing diabetes more than people who took the drug metformin.
Here are five steps you can take to keep type 2 diabetes at bay.
- Eat Healthy — The National Institutes of Health advises against attempting fad diets. Instead, start small and set achievable goals. Some changes you might want to make include eating smaller servings, lowering your fat intake, adding more whole grains and fibers and keeping track of everything you eat and drink.
- Stay Active — Physical activity lowers blood sugar and boosts resistance to insulin, which helps keep blood sugar levels within normal range, according to the Mayo Clinic. Again, an exercise plan can start small, such as taking a 15-minute walk after dinner.
- Lose weight — Even a few pounds can make a difference. One study found that people who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (which would be 7 to 10 pounds for a 150-pound person) lowered their risk of developing diabetes, according to the NIH.
- Monitor blood pressure — Just like keeping tabs on your weight, knowing your blood pressure is key in monitoring your health. The American Diabetes Association recommends having your blood pressure checked once every two years.
- Quit smoking — Along with raising your blood pressure and risk of heart attack and stroke, smoking puts you at a greater risk for diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends to first recognize the benefits of quitting, then establish a plan and finally choose a strategy on how to quit.