Adopting an active lifestyle along with a healthy diet may lower Type 2 diabetes risk over a period of time.
Some of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes such as age, ethnicity, or family history cannot be altered, but small change in lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Few studies have indicated that people who have lost a modest amount of weight through dietary changes and increased physical activity, gradually reduced their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
These dietary changes include:
• Reduced intake of fat & sugar
• Increased fiber in diet
• Increased intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes
The other helpful habits like interpreting food labels and having knowledge of hidden fat and sugars in food products would help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Dietary modifications alone are not sufficient to reduce the diabetes risk. There is also a need for increased physical activity. The recommended duration for brisk physical activity per week is 150 minutes. Any activity done for more than 10 minutes without a break can be considered. The above changes in diet and physical activity are intended at reducing the weight gradually in a clinically/medically safe way.
It is also observed that with peer support and helpful discussions, people can be motivated to reach their goals. One such study “Diabetes Prevention Program” (DPP) included several lifestyle changes, but weight loss was the dominant determinant of the reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. Both, increased physical activity and reduced percentage fat, had a direct correlation with weight loss. The study estimated that a 5kg weight loss over time could account for a 55% reduction in the risk of Type 2 diabetes over the mean of 3.2 years. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was a randomized clinical trial of prevention of Type 2 diabetes in high-risk people.
With consultation and guidance from doctors, diabetes specialist nurses and nutritionists, one can achieve a healthy life and can manage diabetes efficiently.