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Diabetes Prevention: Start Small, Experts Say
Date:11/16/2012

By Margaret Steele
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes robs people of their lives -- their vision, their mobility, even their limbs -- if it is not controlled, yet the real tragedy of this modern-day scourge is that its most common form, type 2, is largely preventable.

Type 2 diabetes, typically caused by poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, often leads to blindness, heart and kidney disease, nerve damage, and even amputations.

Formerly known as adult-onset diabetes because it was rarely seen in young people, type 2 diabetes now disables Americans of all ages in all 50 states, according to new figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eighteen states saw their rates of diabetes cases double between 1995 and 2010, while 42 states saw that rate jump by 50 percent, the agency report found.

People with diabetes can't properly convert the food they eat into energy. The result is that harmful levels of glucose build up in the blood, instead of fueling the rest of the body.

A healthy lifestyle can help keep blood sugar levels normal. That means having blood pressure and cholesterol levels controlled, remaining physically active, eating a well-balanced diet and not smoking.

"Keep youth active and eating healthy foods," said Nancy Copperman, director of public health initiatives in the Office of Community Health at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. "The prevention of pediatric obesity is the most effective way to turn the tide of the adult diabetes epidemic."

Must you overhaul your household and lifestyle overnight? Not necessarily. "Small steps can turn into great strides in preventing diabetes," Copperman said.

Don't have time to work out at a gym? Copperman suggests incorporating three 10-minute activity breaks into your daily schedules by taking the stairs, getting off the bus a stop earlier than your usual stop a
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