Are you trying to lower your risk for diabetes? Of course you are, since you are participating in the Diabetes Prevention Program. You may have just learned from your Lark coach that doing your best in the DPP can lower your risk of diabetes by over 50%, and there is more.
There is research on how all kinds of healthy lifestyle choices can lower diabetes risk. After you see these facts, you might be even more convinced that your own choices affect your fate. You may become more motivated to make some good daily choices when you see how much they matter.
You can lower your risk of diabetes by…
- 16% for each kilogram of body weight you lose.
If you are overweight or obese, your risk for diabetes might drop by as much as 16% for each kilogram that you lose and keep off. That means that instead of following rapid weight loss fad diets, you may be better off making small but sustainable changes to your diet.
- 50% when you lose 5 kg (11 lb.) of body weight
A follow-up study on participants in the DPP found that diabetes risk dropped by about half with an 11-lb. loss. That means you do not need to worry about losing 50 or 100 lb. if that thought is too daunting. You can lower diabetes risk significantly, along with risk for other chronic conditions, with about 5% of your body weight.
- 67% for maintaining a normal weight versus an obese BMI
Are you aiming for big results? If you are obese and you manage to lose enough weight to fall into the “normal weight” category, your risk for diabetes plummets. One study among over 37,000 adults found that the risk for being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was over three times higher for those who were obese.
- 38% for avoiding smoking.
Are you on the fence about quitting? Here is another reason for you to consider quitting. A study of over 7,000 men found that smokers had at least a 50% greater risk of developing diabetes than men who had never smoked. Those who were able to quit for at least 20 years had the same diabetes risk as never-smokers. The dangers of smoking for diabetes have been confirmed time and time again.
- 29% for having higher activity levels
Physical activity really does matter! One study compared people with at least 7800 steps per day compared to under 3,500 steps. That may be approximately 3 miles compared to under 1.5 miles, or 1 hour compared to less than half an hour. Do not worry if an hour sounds like more than you can handle. This study counted not just dedicated exercise, but all steps all day, including such things as walking to the bathroom or across the store.
- 23% for limiting sugar-sweetened beverages.
A meta-analysis of studies around the world found that people who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages had a higher risk of diabetes than those who drank them only rarely. This includes soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks. You can lower your risk and help yourself lose weight, too, by switching from sugar-sweetened beverages to water.
- 58% reduction for completing the year-long Diabetes Prevention Program
So stick with Lark DPP! Work on controlling weight and getting active, and keep up those habits. The long-term evidence shows that the benefits of the DPP can last for a decade or more.