The good news is, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or treated. By losing a modest amount of weight, getting 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, and making healthy food choices, people at risk for type 2 diabetes can delay or prevent its onset. Those are the basic facts of "Small Steps. Big Rewards: Prevent type 2 Diabetes," created by the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). This first-ever, national diabetes prevention campaign spreads this message of hope to the millions of Americans with pre-diabetes (higher than normal blood glucose levels but not yet diabetes).
"Fifty four million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes."
"Fifty four million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes," says Joanne Gallivan, M.S, R.D., NDEP director at the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK). "There are steps you can take to prevent it. It boils down to following a healthy lifestyle— not making huge steps, but small steps that can lead to a big reward, such as eating smaller portions and taking the steps instead of the elevator."
The science behind NDEP's campaign is based on the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a landmark study sponsored by the NIH. The study found that people at increased risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing five to seven percent of their body weight through increased physical activity and a reduced fat, lower calorie diet. That's about a 10 pound weight loss if you weigh 200 pounds.
In the DPP, modest weight loss proved effective in preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes in all high-risk groups. "If you have diabetes in your family, you will want to bring this information to their attention," says Gallivan. "Healthy lifestyles are good for everyone."