Type 2 diabetes is fast becoming a global pandemic. As more people develop diabetes each year, you may worry about the risks for you and your family. But, here’s the good news: You can do something about those risks.
Of the many people I have counseled, only a very few did not have a family history of diabetes. So this article talks about what you can do if a family member once had type 2 diabetes or currently lives with it.
A recent study shows that choosing healthy habits can make a big difference in the long run.
Researchers analyzed data from 14 studies that included about 1 million people. They found that people who had the healthiest lifestyle had a 75% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to those who had the least healthy lifestyle
The bottom line: Taking some simple steps now can help you avoid type 2 diabetes.
Those who had the best chances of avoiding type 2 diabetes:
1. Didn’t smoke.
2. Didn’t drink alcohol.
3. Exercised regularly.
4. Ate a healthy diet.
5. Weren’t overweight
As a parent, spouse or caregiver, you can keep yourself and your family healthy by understanding your diabetes risk and making better choices for everyone.
Here are five ways to reduce your family’s risk of type 2 diabetes:
1. Know the risks for your Family
The risk for type 2 diabetes is higher for those who:
Have a family history of diabetes.
Are age 45 or older.+ Have high blood pressure.
Have high cholesterol.
Have had gestational diabetes.
Have had heart disease.
Are African-American, Alaskan or Hawaiian, native American, or Hispanic.
2. Maintain a good physical activity/exercise routine
You don’t need to run miles a day to reduce your diabetes risk. Simply moving around — and including your family in the activity — will help you lose weight and lower your risk
3. Fix your diet
There is really no reason why you should eat what your diabetic family member eats. A diabetic diet is not different, its only healthier. Why shouldn’t everyone in the family cultivate healthy eating eating habits, including the children.
I started from infancy to feed my children with real food and as they grow older, they see junk food as despising.
Here are some simple tips for improving your nutrition:
Reduce your intake of foods that are high in calories, sugar and fat
Replace sugary drinks and fruit juice with water.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.
Include your family in planning and preparing meals. If you can, sit down to enjoy them together.
4. Lose a little weight
If you or your family have some weight to lose, you’re not alone.
You can definitely prevent progression to diabetes. Importantly, we’ve found that even losing 5% to 7% of your weight substantially reduces your risk to develop diabetes.
It can feel overwhelming to have to make multiple changes to your lifestyle to achieve health goals. But I recommend taking baby steps and tackling one new healthy habit at a time.
5. Seek For Help: Don’t go it alone
If you suspect that someone in your family is at risk for type 2 diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can either provide information or direct you to resources to help you make important lifestyle changes. He can also refer you to see a dietitian who can help you make healthy lifestyle changes.