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Which 5 Lifestyle Changes Can Significantly Reduce Risk of Diabetes?

Recently, a blood test showed that I have an above normal level of blood glucose. Now the term “onset of type 2 diabetes” is a bit more personal for me. While my healthy midlife focus switches from preventing to managing diabetes, the results of the recent study discussed in the video provides some valuable insights on how lifestyle changes can significantly reduce risk of diabetes.

The above video highlights results from a study led by Dr. Jered Reis of the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The research followed 100,000 men and 100,000 women between the ages of 50 to 71 for over a decade to see how combined healthy lifestyle factors influence the onset of diabetes. Apparently, previous studies focused on one risk factor at a time.

5 Healthy Lifestyle Factors Examined in the Study

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining an ideal body weight
  • Engaging in recommended amounts of physical activity
  • Minimizing alcohol use (no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men)
  • Not smoking

In following articles, Healthy Midlife will look into each of these factors individually and how they relate to diabetes as well as our overall middle age health. However, based on the study results, the benefit of incorporating all healthy lifestyle factors is significant and shouldn’t be ignored.

Percentage reduction of developing diabetes by incorporating all healthy lifestyle choices

  • Men: 72%
  • Women: 84%

Percentage reduction by incorporating healthy lifestyle factors individually

  • Men: 31%
  • Women: 39%

According to Dr. Reis, not being overweight or obese led to the greatest protection from diabetes. But, those overweight or obese can benefit from incorporating the other healthy choices. Another good piece of news from the study is that these healthy lifestyle choices were also beneficial for those with a family history of diabetes.

Diabetes impacts 25.8 million Americans. That’s 8% of the population. Unfortunately, almost 6 million Americans are unaware they have type 2 diabetes. Until recently, that would have included me.

Of the five lifestyle factors examined in the study, three probably had the greatest influence on my current blood glucose level. In the past, my healthy diet tended to come in waves and trends. As did my physical activity level. Both of these impact my body weight, which has fluctuated widely over the years.

My blood glucose numbers are such that lifestyle changes might be sufficient to bring them under control. My current focus is on incorporating a healthy diet for weight loss and maintaining consistent fitness activity. Over the coming months, I’ll document my efforts as well as my results.

You can read an Abstract of the Study at the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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