Adults at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk by losing weight through regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even a weight loss of as little as 5 to 7 percent of the starting body weight may prevent diabetes.
Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors in developing diabetes, which makes weight loss a powerful tool in preventing the disease. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, physical inactivity and genetic predisposition, states the CDC. While genetics cannot be changed, lifestyle changes to combat the other risk factors can help.
A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days per week helps with weight loss. Exercise also reduces blood sugar levels and increases sensitivity to insulin, says Mayo Clinic. Diet is another strong factor in weight loss. Increasing fiber intake supports blood sugar control and increases the sensation of fullness to support weight loss. Eating whole grains may also help prevent diabetes.
Changes in the type of fat consumed may also help reduce the risk of diabetes, notes the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Polyunsaturated fat such as the omega-3 fat found in fish is healthier than trans fats found in processed foods. Choosing lean proteins such as poultry or fish instead of red meat may also help prevent diabetes.