Insights & Actions for Healthy Living
Diabetes Month – Prevention Strategies for the Health of It

Diabetes Month – Prevention Strategies for the Health of It

One in eleven Americans has been diagnosed with diabetes.

That’s 29 million people with diabetes.

86 million more are at risk!

Someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 23 seconds!

People with diabetes can have healthcare costs that are 2.3 times higher than someone without diabetes!

Those numbers continue to grow for what has been called an invisible disease.

Diabetes doesn’t discriminate and will affect anyone at any age.

What can you do to prevent you or your family from developing diabetes?

Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes is a disease that, once diagnosed, requires control on a variety of fronts.

In order to be in control of your blood sugar, to prevent medical complications, it is important to manage medications, including oral agents and insulin injections, testing blood sugars, controlling an insulin pump, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a balanced diet.

Whenever possible, most people would choose to prevent diabetes.

Preventing diabetes, or its progression from prediabetes to diabetes, can be achieved with lifestyle changes.

The Diabetes Prevention Program found that, in those with prediabetes, modest changes led to not only weight loss of 5-7% but also a 58% decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

If you are at risk to develop diabetes, prevention should be a health goal!

Physical Activity

There is much research showing the benefits of regular physical activity in the prevention of chronic diseases including diabetes.

Activity is essential, even in the absence of weight loss.

Adults should be getting two and a half hours of moderate exercise every week.

Children should be physically active for at least one hour each day.

What can you do to get more active?

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Resistance training
  • Yoga
  • Bowling
  • Gardening
  • Biking
  • Exercise classes especially aerobic
  • Dancing

Pick an activity you enjoy so you will stick with it and grab a buddy who will motivate you to success!


We hear it every day – we need to eat right.

Unfortunately, lifelong habits can be hard to fight. But we must begin to make small changes each day to improve our eating patterns for prevention.

Every time you eat, ask yourself if there is one choice on your plate that could be improved.

Is there a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, are you reducing foods with added sugars, are there enough fiber and whole grain sources, is the lean protein fried or broiled, or do you need the dessert?

Have you eaten your meals in portion sizes that will satisfy you without excess to become an obstacle to weight management?

The goal should be food choices that are high in nutrients but moderate in calories per serving.

Don’t forget to stay well hydrated with fluids that don’t contain added sugars, preferably water.  Limit alcoholic drinks as well.


The American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge everyone to take a prediabetes risk assessment to determine if you might be affected by diabetes and not yet aware.

Once you have taken the risk assessment it is time to talk things over with your doctor, who may recommend further testing, including blood work.

It is also important to be aware of your other health risk factors and know your number, including blood pressure or blood cholesterol and other lipid levels, as heart disease can often go hand in hand with diabetes.

Other Factors

There are other lifestyle behavior changes that can help lower our risk for diabetes.

Smoking = Smoking cessation so that abdominal fat accumulation and insulin resistance will be reduced.

Depression = recognizing and treating depression will help you because there has been a link established between diabetes, depression and heart disease.

Sleep = there is some research ongoing into the effects of both too much and too little sleep on diabetes development. Hormones for both food intake and energy balance can be impaired with sleep deprivation. Sleep apnea or obstructed breathing is associated with obesity and diabetes.

Sample Healthy Menu

Because many people struggle with knowing what and how much to eat for overall health, here is a sample menu to get you on the right track.

Be aware of the calorie and energy expenditure needs that are specific to you and adjust this accordingly for your personal health.

(This menu will provide approximately 1800 calories)


Whole grain cereal such as oatmeal (1/2 cup dry oats)

Fresh fruit such as berries or banana (1/2 cup or one small)

Nonfat milk, 1 cup

Hard-boiled egg, 1


Whole grain crackers, 4

Peanut butter, 1 tablespoons

Water with lemon


Salad with mixed raw veggies such as carrot coins, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, jicama, cucumbers, red cabbage

Grilled chicken, 2 oz.

Seasoned croutons, ½ cup

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, 1-2 tablespoons

Fresh fruit, 1 piece

Unsweetened Iced Tea


Hummus and pita chips, ½ cup and 10 chips

Raw veggies to dip, carrot/celery/pepper sticks

Water with lime


Broiled fish, 3 oz.

Baked potato, 1 medium (eat the skin)

Butter, 1 teaspoon and fresh ground pepper to season

Green vegetables cooked: broccoli, kale, spinach, or green beans 1 cup

Side salad with mixed green with low calorie dressing 1 Tablespoon

Mixed fresh fruit cut up, ½ cup

Nonfat milk (or Greek yogurt for fruit), 1 cup

Water with orange slices


Popcorn, 3 cups, unbuttered

Mix with: Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon, Unsalted peanuts, 1 ounce, Pumpkin seeds or flaxseeds, 1 ounce


Good luck in achieving your health goals!

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