Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health threats of our times and an urgent public health issue.
Since 1996, the number of people living with diabetes has more than doubled. If nothing changes, it is estimated that over five million people in the UK will have diabetes. The number of people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is increasing at a particularly fast rate.
You can make lifestyle changes that will reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It’s never too late to start!
1. Lose weight.
Quite simply, shedding the pounds will drastically reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Waist size is a good measure – if your waist is than 31.5 inches (80cm) for a woman and 37 inches (94cm) for a man, you may be putting yourself at risk.
2. Do more physical activity.
Being physically active and moving more each day will reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. You should aim for 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise, at least five days a week. It is also important to do some activities that improve your muscle strength on two or more days a week. This can include everyday activities like gardening or carrying shopping.
3. Eat better.
Having a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Eating foods that are high in fibre, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-wheat pasta, rice, beans, nuts and seeds, will keep your digestive system working well. They are generally more slowly absorbed, therefore keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
4. Stop smoking.
Most people are aware of the link between smoking and cancer, but not so many understand how it is connected to diabetes. Smoking has been proven to increase blood pressure levels, which are known to be a major cause of diabetes.
5. Drink less alcohol.
Booze can indirectly contribute towards the conditions that cause diabetes. Alcoholic drinks increase your chances of putting on weight, as they are essentially empty calories. Heavy drinking can also lead to conditions such as chronic pancreatitis, which has a side effect of diabetes. There’s nothing wrong with a little alcohol in moderation, but excessive drinking does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.