University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FCS8840

Reducing Your Risk for Diabetes: A Resource Guide1

Linda B. Bobroff2

The number of people with diabetes is rising at an alarming rate in the U.S., as it is worldwide. Persons with “pre-diabetes” have elevated blood glucose (sugar), but their levels are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, you are at increased risk for developing diabetes.

Table 1. 

Sample test results for the two tests commonly used to determine risk for diabetes.

 

Fasting Plasma Glucose

mg/dl*

Hemoglobin A1C

%

Normal

Less than 100

Less than 5.7

Pre-diabetes

100–125

5.7–6.4

Diabetes

126 or higher

6.5 or higher

*mg/dl = milligrams of glucose per deciliter (100 milliliters) of blood

The two tests most commonly used to determine if you are at risk for diabetes are the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test and the hemoglobin A1C test. The FPG test measures glucose in the plasma (the liquid part of blood) at a specific point in time. The A1C test is an indicator of average blood glucose levels over the previous two to three months. Table 1 shows the values for each test that are normal and that indicate pre-diabetes and diabetes.

All adults should have their blood glucose checked on a regular basis. This will allow people diagnosed with diabetes to begin treatment early. The key to preventing or forestalling the severe health complications of this disease is early diagnosis and treatment! Research has shown that people with pre-diabetes can significantly reduce their risk of getting diabetes through lifestyle changes. Eating a healthful diet and being physically active are the keys to a healthier lifestyle. These changes can help people with pre-diabetes lose weight and lower their blood glucose. For a 200-pound person, losing as few as 10 pounds (five percent of body weight) significantly reduces risk for diabetes.

Many free resources are available to help people of all backgrounds lead healthier lives and reduce their risk for diabetes. Here are some resources to choose from to help you and your family members begin taking steps to improve your health.

National Diabetes Education Program

The following materials from the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) are available at 1-800-438-5383, or from their website: http://www.ndep.nih.gov/publications/index.aspx?Keyword=Prevention2&Go.x=17&Go.y=13.

Figure 1. 

Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods helps reduce risk for diabetes.


Credit:

Ali Karimian CC 2.0 http://bit.ly/xW9qWr


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Diabetes Prevention Tip Sheets

The NDEP has developed a series of tip sheets to help people of all ages prevent diabetes. One tip sheet (Two Reasons I Find Time to Prevent Diabetes: My Future and Theirs) is available in English and 15 languages targeting Asian and Pacific Islanders.

Small Steps, Big Rewards. Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Information for Patients

This is a three-booklet package of educational materials to help people assess their risk for developing diabetes and begin a program to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. Check with your local Extension office to see if they are offering this as an educational program.

Get Real! You Don't Have to Knock Yourself Out to Prevent Diabetes

This two-page tip sheet encourages people at risk for diabetes to move more and eat less to lower their risk for diabetes.

Movimiento Por Su Vida

Play this music CD (or watch the video on a DVD player) and reduce your risk for diabetes while moving to a Latin beat. The CD features six original songs with empowering messages and Latin rhythms that make you want to move. You can order one free copy from the NDEP.

Tips for Teens: Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

This tip sheet encourages young people to take steps to lower their risk for type 2 diabetes. It includes tips to help children and teens reach a healthy weight, lead an active lifestyle, and make healthy food choices.

Move It! And Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

This award-winning educational program from NDEP focuses on physical activity and is targeted to American Indian/Alaskan Native youth. It includes three posters, fact sheets, resource lists, and stories from schools that have used the materials.

Other Resources

MyPlate

MyPlate is the food guide icon introduced by the USDA in 2011. The website offers a wealth of information about healthy eating, which, along with physical activity, is a cornerstone of diabetes prevention. Visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov and design an eating and physical activity plan that's right for you.

How to Prevent or Delay Diabetes

This is a section on the American Diabetes Association website. It offers a number of downloadable fact sheets related to nutrition and fitness, as well as self-assessment tools including a diabetes risk calculator. Go to: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/.

Food and Fitness

This section on the American Diabetes Association website provides recipes, meal plans, and other information about food and fitness to promote healthy living for diabetes prevention. Go to: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/.

Diabetes and Me

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website offers detailed information about pre-diabetes as well as a variety of materials related to diabetes prevention and links to other resources. Go to: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/consumer/prevent.htm.

Solutions for Your Life

This is the University of Florida IFAS Extension website. For information on nutrition, healthy lifestyles, diabetes, and other health issues, begin your search in the Health & Nutrition section: http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/families_and_consumers/index.html.

ADA Bookstore

For additional resources, you can check out the American Diabetes Association online bookstore. It offers a variety of books about diabetes, including cookbooks, as well as gift items for consumers and professionals; Gift of Hope items support diabetes research: http://store.diabetes.org/?WTLPromo=prev_bookstore&vms=213264860505.

Figure 2. 

If you are at risk for diabetes, lifestyle changes, such as becoming more physically active, can help prevent the disease.


Credit:

John Nyberg, http://bit.ly/wvFl6m


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS8840, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. First published May 2007. Revised October 2014. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Linda B. Bobroff, Ph.D., RD, LD/N, professor, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.