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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.

Aids & Tools

Know More

  1. Learn more about diabetes prevention from the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program.
  2. Learn more about diabetes prevention from the National Diabetes Education Program.

Ask More

  1. How does someone know they are at risk for prediabetes?
    Answer:
    Many factors increase risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Following are some characteristics that may indicate risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

    • I am 45 years of age or older.
    • I am overweight.
    • I have a parent with diabetes.
    • I have a sister or brother with diabetes.
    • My family background is African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific-Islander.
    • I had diabetes while I was pregnant (gestational diabetes), or I gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
    • I am physically active less than three times a week.

    People can take an online quiz to learn more about their risk for prediabetes,. People who think they are at risk for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes  should talk to a health care provider as soon as possible. The quiz is available for download Prediabetes Screening Test [PDF-758 KB] or Cuestionario para la detección de la prediabetes [PDF-455 KB]. People who are 45 years of age or older, should consider getting a blood test from a health care provider for prediabetes and diabetes, especially if they are overweight.

  2. Are some people at greater risk for diabetes?
    Answer:
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk factors for type 2 diabetes include older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.

    Risk factors are less well defined for type 1 diabetes than for type 2 diabetes, but autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved in developing this type of diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs more frequently in African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and people with a family history of diabetes than in other groups. Obesity is also associated with higher risk. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35% to 60% chance of developing diabetes in the next 10–20 years.

    Other specific types of diabetes, which may account for 1% to 5% of all diagnosed cases, result from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses.

  3. If a person has prediabetes won’t they just automatically develop diabetes?
    Answer:
    Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

    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.

  4. We serve a lot of “junk” food and sweets at company events. How can we make changes in what is available without offending people?
    Answer:
    Adopt healthy food guidelines. Sample guidelines can be found at CDC.

Do More

  1. Participant in the American Diabetes Alert. Resources are available from the NDEP.
  2. Coordinate an employee health fair. Further information about blood glucose screening events is available from the CDC.
  3. Offer the “What is Prediabetes?” workshop. 
  4. Post diabetes prevention flyers in employee common areas. Resources can be found at NDEP.
  5. Include information about diabetes and prediabetes risk factors in employee communications such as e-newsletter and on employee health sites. Publish a list of local National Diabetes Prevention Program sites.

    Resources can be found at the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

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