Over the last several decades, an epidemic of so-called lifestyle diseases has developed in the United States. This is due to a more sedentary lifestyle and an increase in portion sizes. We’re just less active than we used to be. As such, we’re seeing rises in many diseases that were already among the most prevalent in our society: cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Let’s focus on diabetes - 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, or 9.3% of the population, and one in every four who are living with the disease don’t even know they have it.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means there is no way to prevent it from happening. In most cases type 1 diabetes develops at a young age. Type 1 means eventually your body does not produce any insulin. For type 2 diabetes, meaning the body cannot use insulin properly; most cases are preventable, although some are hereditary. High blood pressure, obesity and poor nutrition are also considered major risk factors. Studies suggest that without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15-30% of people with pre diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
Research has shown that a healthy balance of diet and exercise can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in adults. Losing between 5% and 7% of your body weight by a healthy combination of exercise and a diet consisting of less saturated fat and a lower caloric intake can be a huge help. The exercise can help to control your blood glucose and blood pressure. It also can help prevent heart problems that can lead to heart disease, one of the major health complications resulting from diabetes.
For everyone, we recommended that you participate in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes for 5 or more days a week, but this is even more important if you’re at risk of developing diabetes. Perform activities around the house or hit the gym, but make it a commitment to fit this level of activity in every week. Consult your healthcare provider and/or personal trainer to help you come up with a workout plan that works best for you.
In addition to finding an activity that works for you, you also have to remember to make sure your diet lines up with your goals. One important thing for you to do is cut the amount of fat in your diet. There are a lot of ways you can do this. You should try your best to cut back on foods that are high in trans-fat and saturated fat (fried foods, certain salad dressings, and products made from whole milk).
It’s also important to cut back on foods that are high in sugar and salt (soda, canned soups, and processed foods). Talk to our registered dietitian, Kristen Gil or our nutrition coach, Zack Feeney, so that they can help you come up with a diet that works best for you.
Fitness Artist is a proud supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Please consider a contribution to ending juvenile diabetes.