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Six simple ways to prevent diabetes

June 3, 2020

About 1.7 million adults learn they have diabetes each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Are you at risk? While genetics sometimes play a role, often the choices you make can help prevent diabetes.

Making modest changes in your daily routine can help you escape the serious health problems of diabetes in the future, such as heart, nerve, and kidney damage. Consider these latest, simple diabetes prevention tips.

  • Get moving – Take a walk around the neighborhood. Bike to the park. Toss a ball with the kids. Get your heart rate up for just 30 minutes, five days a week, to lower your risk of diabetes.
  • Banish binge-watching – Too much screen time can dull your brain and threaten your health. Every two hours you watch TV instead of being active increases your chances of diabetes by 20 percent, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. If you can't bear to miss a show, watch it from a treadmill or stationary bike.
  • Watch your waistline – Packing on the pounds can up your risk of diabetes. Being overweight makes you seven times more likely to develop diabetes than someone at a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about the best weight range for your age and height.
  • Take control of that sweet tooth – Minimize sugar to maximize good health. Try fresh fruit for dessert, or reach for a small piece of dark chocolate instead of a giant cupcake. Limit sugary soda, iced tea and fruit drinks to one a day.
  • Tune up your diet – Make your dinner plate more colorful – and healthier -- with lots of veggies, fruit and lean proteins. Cut back on white flour, rice and pasta, which your body processes like sugar. Swapping out red meat for a healthier protein source like poultry, fish, or low-fat dairy can lower diabetes risk up to 35 percent, according to the American Diabetes Association.
  • Curb your vices – Put out that cigarette for good. Smokers are roughly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers. If you enjoy a cocktail at happy hour, stop after one. Heavy drinking raises risk.

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Sources:

Diabetes Prevention Program https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/research-areas/diabetes/diabetes-prevention-program-dpp/Pages/default.aspx

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/

U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/know-your-limit-for-added-sugars.html

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