By: Daniel Muncey, MPH
While poor eating habits and low levels of exercise can contribute to diabetes, this doesn’t always mean that you will develop the disease – you may have a say!
Knowing your family history, the pre-diagnosed symptoms and silent causes of diabetes can make all the difference. While many people chalk up eating a lot of sugar as the main reason, the real reasons are weight gain and genetics.
November is American Diabetes Month and there isn’t a better time to start managing your health and preventing this disease.
By taking advantage of initiatives such as free diabetes prevention programs, those with prediabetes or those at risk of developing the disease can better understand how to manage their health and get on the fast track to healthy living.
Here are five tips from Rebecca Carrier, a Michigan participant who benefited from a Priority Health sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program first-hand:
- Tracking what you eat does have an impact on the food choices you make. If you see that you could make healthier meal plan choices, you’ll want to make a change and increase the number of healthy items you consume.
- Eating is a choice. There is no obligation to clean your plate and rushing to finish a meal doesn’t let you realize when you’re actually full, which leads to overeating. Taking your time while eating can also help you enjoy your food that much more.
- Physical activity is a can increase gradually. Small, routine exercises create a consistent change. Even a walk around the block at lunch and when you get home from work can prompt higher levels of activity.
- Making sustainable changes is easier if change is made in small steps – this is part of the reason why the Diabetes Prevention Program is one year in length; it suggests a gradual introduction to change.
- No single act (over consumption, less than healthy choice, inactivity for a day), will make or break a sustainable change. Change is hard, that’s why it takes time – keep at it.
Whether you suffer from the disease, know someone who has type 1 or type 2 or have only heard of diabetes, consider these statistics provided by the CDC:
Total: 37.3 million people have diabetes (11.3% of the US population)
Diagnosed: 28.7 million people, including 28.5 million adults
Undiagnosed: 8.5 million people (23.0% of adults are undiagnosed)
Prediabetes total: 96 million people aged 18 years or older have prediabetes (38.0% of the adult US population)
65 years or older: 26.4 million people aged 65 years or older (48.8%) have prediabetes
These numbers may be shocking, but the best way to avoid developing diabetes is knowing your own health. Understanding not only the risk of diabetes, but how to take preventive measures can lead to a long-lasting and healthy life.
Improving your health to avoid developing diabetes can be as easy as educating yourself. Controlling weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise could not only save you money but could also save your life.
For more information on prevention programs near you, visit http://www.priorityhealth.com/diabetes
About the Author: Daniel Muncey, MPH, is a Wellbeing Specialist. He is passionate about helping families and individuals improve their health and wellbeing. Daniel has a background in personal training, community improvement, and wellbeing programming.