How to prevent type 2 diabetes

Around 13.6 million people in the UK are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. It’s a serious condition that can lead to other health problems. Unlike Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes can sometimes be prevented. Research has shown that for some people, a combination of lifestyle changes can reduce their risk of Type 2 Diabetes by about 50%.

How can I lower my chances of developing type 2 diabetes? 

You can find out the level of your own risk of Type 2 Diabetes and what to do to lower it by putting information into our free Know your risk of Type 2 Diabetes tool at the link:*c7e4ii*_ga*MTAzMjg5Nzk4Mi4xNzEzNDM2NDg2*_ga_J1HFNSGEX6*MTcxNDQ2NDA3MS4yLjEuMTcxNDQ2NDEwMy4yOC4wLjA.*_gcl_au*ODU5ODM1NTY0LjE3MTM0MzY0ODU

It’s free and only takes two or three minutes. You’ll need to know your height, weight and waist measurement.

There are some factors that put you at increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes that you can’t change, such as your age and ethnicity, or a previous history of some medical problems.

Even with additional risk factors, the main things you can do to lower your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes are to eat more healthily, lose weight if needed so you have a healthy weight and healthy waist size, and to move more.

Looking after your weight and being more active makes it easier for your body to manage your blood sugar levels and help prevent Insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

A healthy waist size in women is less than 80 cm (31.5 inches) and a healthy waist size in men is 94 cm (37 inches) or for South Asian men, less than 90 cm (35 inches).

Where can I get support for this?

Research suggests that getting support to eat healthily, and/or to move more, can help you adopt new habits longer term. Speak to the team at your GP practice to find out about available support in your area. Some people find the support of a partner or family member helpful.

As you get older, your risk of Type 2 Diabetes increases, so where possible, it’s best to adopt a healthier lifestyle early on. Type 2 Diabetes is more common in people over 40. But if you’re from a Black, African Caribbean or South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) background, your risk of Type 2 Diabetes increases once you’re over 25.

How can I prevent myself getting type 2 diabetes?

Half of people at risk of Type 2 Diabetes can reduce their risk or delay the condition developing by eating healthily as well as keeping to a healthy weight and waist size.

Moving more can also help you reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Try to walk quickly or do something else that will get you a little out of breath for 30 minutes, on at least five days of the week. If you’re short of time, do it in three 10-minute slots.

Breaking up long spells of sitting or lying is important as this has also been shown to have an associated risk with Type 2 Diabetes. if you’re sitting at a desk or lying down watching TV, for example, make sure you stretch or move often.

Stopping smoking and sticking to government guidelines on alcohol units can also help you reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Remember though that the three main ways to prevent Type 2 Diabetes are eating well, moving more, and losing weight if you are living with obesity or are overweight, or have an unhealthy waist size.

Why can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

Unlike Type 1 Diabetes which can’t yet be prevented, in Type 2 Diabetes, your body is still making a hormone called Insulin which helps manage blood sugar levels.

Research has shown that for some people, getting support to make changes to your lifestyle including healthy eating, moving more and losing weight, helps your body make more Insulin and use the Insulin more effectively.