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Reducing the Risk of Diabetes

Like other serious health conditions, the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by healthy lifestyle choices, such as controlling the diet, not smoking and losing excess weight and exercising. Weight loss of 5% to 10% -- or about 4.5 to 9 kg (10 to 20 lbs.) for a 90-kg (200-lb.) person -- has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of diabetes. Other lifestyle factors to consider include:


Body Mass Index (BMI)

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple, widely accepted way of assessing body weight in relation to health for most people aged 20 to 65 (exceptions include people who are very muscular, athletes, and pregnant or nursing women). The BMI is a statistical measure of the weight of a person scaled according to height. BMI is calculated by dividing the individual's body weight by the square of their height (Kg/m2).

According to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, for adults over 20 years old, BMI falls into one of the following categories:
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5-24.9 Normal
25.0-29.9 Overweight
30.0-39.9 Obese
Above 40.0 Very obese

Body fat stored around the abdomen (rather than the hips and thighs) is also a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.

BMIs can be calculated at Health Canada websiteExternal link

Eating a Healthy, Balanced Diet

By eating foods that are rich in fibre, reducing the amount of fat in food selections and adding more fruits and vegetables, a person can help control their diet and maintain or lose weight. It is also possible to decrease the size and quantity of food servings while still ensuring that he or she meets healthy nutrient intakes.External link

Ensure regular Physical Activity

Increasing physical activity is a key element in controlling weight and reducing the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Physical activity also helps a person maintain better posture and balance, stronger muscles and bones, more energy, reduced stress and continued independent living in later life.

Managing High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Glucose

Diabetes and high blood pressure are often found together. Up to three-quarters of people with undiagnosed diabetes have high blood pressure. Studies show that good control of blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose can substantially reduce the risk of someone developing complications and slow their progression.