Preventing diabetes

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and there are certain risk factors for type 2 diabetes that cannot be avoided (including age and race); however, there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes; these include:

Lose weight:

obesity is one of the most significant causes of type 2 diabetes, so if you are obese you should think about making changes to your lifestyle so that you can lose weight; losing enough weight to fall into the healthy weight category will reduce the risk of you developing type 2 diabetes by 50 percent.

If you want to lose weight, you need to make changes to your diet and exercise regime. Cut down on the amount of fatty, sugary foods and increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables and wholegrain foods. Many people that are obese are unaware of the amount of calories they consume on a daily basis; some are shocked to find out they are consuming two or three times the recommended daily intake. Adult females should take in around 1800-2200 calories (depending on their activity levels and build) and adult males should consume around 2,500 calories.

In order to make sure your diet is healthy, you need to include foods from all the major food groups, which include carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fruit and vegetables; complex carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables should form the bulk of your meals. Try to eat wholegrain foods as these are high in fibre and good for your heart. Try to prepare meals yourself with fresh ingredients; this way you can control how much salt, oil and sugar are used in the preparation of foods and you can keep an eye on your calories.  If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you should seek the advice of your doctor before you plan a new diet.

Exercise regularly:

exercise has a wealth of health benefits and you will begin to notice some of these instantaneously. Regular exercise helps to reduce the risk of diabetes, as well as other serious health conditions including heart disease and strokes. Try to do 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week; this may seem like a lot, but the sessions needn’t be strenuous training sessions in the gym, they can be anything that raises your heart rate (this can include walking, dancing, climbing, playing team sports and swimming, for example). Do the exercises you enjoy the most and try new activities. Exercise has also been proven to reduce stress and increase confidence; it will also help you to lose weight and then maintain a healthy body weight.

Eating well and exercising regularly will improve all areas of your health and you will begin to notice the positive effects almost immediately. Eating healthy foods will boost your immune system, keep you feeling energised and reduce the risk of you developing illnesses, while exercise will help you to relax, get rid of frustration and stress, meet new people and feel confident about the way your new body looks. For further information on losing weight by eating well and exercising regularly you can consult the NHS website.

Guide to Diabetes


Types of diabetes

Causes and risk factors

Living with diabetes

Preventing diabetes

Recognising the symptoms of diabetes

Treating diabetes