The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 34.2 million Americans— just over 1 in 10 — have diabetes. Today, another 88 million are living with prediabetes, a health condition that increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other health problems. Your chances of developing type 2 diabetes depend on a combination of risk factors such as your genes and lifestyle.
Although you can’t change risk factors such as family history, age, or ethnicity, you can change lifestyle risk factors around eating, physical activity, and weight. These lifestyle changes can affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Read about risk factors for type 2 diabetes below and see which ones apply to you. Taking action on the factors you can change can help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have any of the following factors:
- Being overweight
- Being 45 years or older
- Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than three times a week
- Having had gestational diabetes/a baby that weighed more than nine pounds
You can also take the Diabetes Risk Test to learn about your risk for type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that by making small healthy lifestyle changes, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes. In 2002, a study funded by the CDC and National Institutes of Health (NIH) examined the effects of weight loss through both diet change and increased physical activity in the prevention and/or delay of the onset of type 2 diabetes. This ground-breaking study showed that millions of high-risk people could indeed delay or avoid developing type 2 diabetes through this lifestyle intervention programming known as a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). In fact, participants in the program reduced their risk for developing diabetes by 58 percent!
Learn more about the benefits of a Diabetes Prevention Program here.