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Ask a Trainer: Education key for diabetics
by Justin Mingo
Dec 06, 2010 | 2658 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What if you were told that 57 million Americans were at risk for a disease that was preventable? To avoid it all you need is education, increased activity and a better diet? Would you be curious why we are still battling this disease? November was American Diabetes Awareness Month and type-2 diabetes specifically is one of the country’s most reversible and preventable diseases. (We will discuss type-2 diabetes, as the causes for type-1 diabetes are not lifestyle related.)

The most common form of diabetes is known as type-2 diabetes, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of diagnosed cases. The facts show that type-2 diabetes affects more and more Americans. In fact, a recent study predicts by 2050 one in three Americans will have diabetes and the death rate will continue to climb.

“There is a strong link between lifestyle and diabetes. Obesity is a major risk factor for type-2 diabetes,” says Dr. Deborah Hackett, endocrinologist at McKay Dee Hospital. “Many studies indicate that waist circumference is a better predictive factor for diabetes risk than body mass index, even in children 7-14 years of age.”

Obesity is not the only predictive factor. The Diabetes Prevention Program studied pre-diabetics. The group that followed an exercise regimen of walking 30 minutes, five days a week, was less likely to develop type-2 diabetes than the group that received a medication known to increase insulin sensitivity.

Diet also plays a crucial role in diabetes prevention. According to Hackett a high intake of veggies, in particular, is important.

So with such simple solutions available, why is type-2 diabetes such a health crisis? There is no denying our lifestyles have changed. Our jobs are more sedentary. Children have more electronics and media that keep them from being as active outdoors. We eat more highly-processed foods that decrease insulin sensitivity and overwork our pancreas. We eat less whole fruits and vegetables. Even when we think we are being healthy by giving our children juice to drink, we are only exacerbating the situation with high levels of sugar.

The good news is type-2 diabetes is not only preventable, but when caught early, is reversible. All we need is three simple steps:

Get educated. Learn the risks associated with diabetes and how to prevent it. Many local dieticians provide nutrition counseling that include free blood sugar meter, carbohydrate counting, carbohydrate counting books, individualized meal plans, healthy recipes and portion size assistance.

Get moving. Exercise no less than 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Exercise does not need to be strenuous. Just enough to increase your heart rate and cause your breathing to be a little uncomfortable.

Adjust your diet. Increase your vegetable intake and decrease your portions. Minimize how many processed foods you eat.

By making small adjustments in our lifestyle and that of our children, we can beat this deadly disease.

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