Take steps to lose weight and reach a healthy BMI if needed
Around 1.7 million Australians and 250,000 New Zealanders have diabetes, with a further half a million Australians and 100,000 New Zealanders estimated to be living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. You may not realise it, but you’re a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) has a role to play in your risk. Diabetes affects so many and the complications and effects on individuals and their families and carers can be enormous.
Having a BMI of 30 or greater can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and lowering your BMI is associated with a decreased risk, so reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important. Even losing a small amount of weight is beneficial. Losing just 5-10% of your current weight can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in 6 out of 10 people.
The good news is that there is a lot you can do to decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Here’s how you can take control
Healthy balanced diet
Enjoy a variety of whole foods including plenty of plant foods, lean protein sources, healthy fats, reduced fat dairy or alternatives and watch your intake of added sugars, salt and saturated fats. In particular, ensure you have plenty of high fibre foods in your diet as fibre helps to lower your blood sugar levels and helps with weight management and achieving a healthy BMI. And be sure to watch your portions, eat mindfully and listen to your hunger and fullness cues.
Regular physical activity
Regular moderate physical activity on most days not only helps you manage your weight and ultimately improve your BMI, but it also helps to reduce insulin resistance, blood glucose levels and blood pressure. If you’re not currently active, start slow and build up gradually to your goal. It’s also important to reduce your sedentary time or break up your sitting time as high levels of sedentary time is also linked to increased risk of diabetes.
Manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Having high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol are also risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Ensure you work with your doctor to check both and put steps in place to manage them if needed.
If you’re a smoker, take steps to quit smoking
Smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to non-smokers. Quitting smoking can be difficult but there are many options available to help, so speak with your doctor about the best option for you.
Research tells us that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in up to 58% of cases by maintaining a healthy weight and BMI, having a healthy balanced diet and doing regular physical activity. Adopting some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference to your overall health and help improve your BMI.