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Diabetes Prevention

Prediabetes is identified when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a serious health condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

  • 86 million Americans have prediabetes.
  • 9 out of 10 people with prediabetes don't know they have it.
  • Half of all Americans aged 65 years and older have prediabetes.
  • Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

There are many factors that increase diabetes risk.  In general people are at risk if they are:

  • 45 years of age or older
  • Overweight
  • Have a parent with diabetes
  • Family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • Developed diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • Physically active less than three times a week

Those at high risk for diabetes are urged to:

  • Lose 5%-7% of their weight if they are overweight. That's 10-14 pounds for a 200-pound person
  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week
  • Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and reduce the number of calories eater per day by controlling portion size

How can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people with prediabetes. Modest weight loss means 5% to 7% of body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking, also is important. 

The lifestyle change program offered through the National Diabetes Prevention Program—led by CDC—can help participants adopt the healthy habits needed to prevent type 2 diabetes. Trained lifestyle coaches lead classes to help participants improve their food choices, increase physical activity, and learn coping skills to maintain weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes.

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