Tips for preventing type 2 diabetes

Did you know that 80% of type 2 diabetes is preventable? Prediabetes affects about 1 in 4 New Zealanders aged 15 years and over and the rate of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to increase, so it’s good to know you can take control now and help reduce your risk of developing this damaging disease.

Here’s our top tips for making sure you don’t become another diabetes statistic:

1. Know your risk

The greatest risk factor for prediabetes is obesity, however, your risk increases if you:

  • have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • are of Māori, Pacific or Indo-Asian ethnicity
  • are a woman with a history of gestational diabetes or a large baby (birth weight 4.5 kg or more)
  • are an adult on long-term steroid or antipsychotic treatment.

2. Get screened

Most people don’t know they have prediabetes as there are no obvious symptoms during this stage but, if you have any of the risk factors, talk with your doctor or nurse about a diabetes screening test.

3. Lose weight

If you’re overweight, the number one thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes is to lose weight. Studies show reducing your weight by 5 to 10% can prevent, delay or even reverse prediabetes. So if you weigh 100kg and you reduce this to 90-95 kg, your risk of progressing on to develop diabetes is more than halved.

4. Get active

Be physically active for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day. Not only will it help to reduce your weight, physical activity also helps your body properly use the hormone insulin, which takes glucose into your cells to give you energy.

5. Make healthy food choices

Healthy eating isn’t about sticking to strict diets or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about eating a balanced range of foods that help you feel great, have more energy, improve your outlook and help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Find out more about healthy eating.

Learn more

Diabetes overview Health Navigator
Type 2 diabetes Health Navigator
Diabetes Ministry of Health

Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.