"An active lifestyle can prevent diabetes," she said.
Simple dietary changes, such as adding fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks, reducing portion sizes by using smaller plates and glasses, splitting your meal order at restaurants, and replacing sweetened beverages with water or flavored seltzers can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, she added.
Many people aren't aware they have diabetes until symptoms such as blurred vision or heart problems arise, so it's important to find out if you are at risk for diabetes.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, those at highest risk are age 45 or older, are overweight or obese, have a parent or sibling with diabetes, and lead a sedentary lifestyle, meaning they are moderately active fewer than three times a week. Women who had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) are also at higher risk, as are blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.
But small steps can improve your odds. Dr. Ronald Tamler, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center in New York City, said research has shown that people at high risk can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by losing 7 percent of their weight if they are overweight -- about 15 pounds for someone weighing 200 pounds.
The NIH says the two key factors for diabetes prevention are getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking fast or biking, five days a week, and eating a variety of foods that are low in fat and reducing the number of calories you eat daily.
If you need to lose weight, it helps to set modest goals and chart your progress. Write down what you eat and drink, and document your weight loss. You'll need to take in fewer calories than you burn each day. Also, eat smaller portions of high-fat and high-calorie foods than you currently eat.
Find out how many calories you should consume daily. Someone wei
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