While nothing can be done to prevent type 1 diabetes, there are steps anybody can take to minimize the risk of developing type 2 diabetes — or reverse it after it has already developed. Here are the three fundamental rules for diabetes prevention:

Exercise regularly

Building exercise into your daily routine has a number of benefits. Besides making you feel generally healthy and strong, exercise can help you lose weight, gain energy, reduce blood pressure, raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and keep your blood sugar levels where they should be. Current guidelines for adults call for about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That can be as easy as taking an invigorating 22-minute walk each day!

Maintain a healthy weight

Your healthcare provider can help you determine your ideal weight range. If you’re heavier than your goal, remember this: Losing as little as 7% of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%!

That’s just 14 pounds off of a 200-pound frame, 17.5 pounds down from 250, or 21 pounds lost if you weigh 300 now. After dropping that first 7%, many people are motivated to continue to reach additional weight-loss goals.

Eat right

Turn to fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and other foods rich in fiber and grains instead of sugary, high-fat, processed options. When you fuel your body with a healthy, balanced diet, it can stave off numerous health concerns, including diabetes.

Try fitness snacking

Try fitness snacking

“Fitness snacking” is all about doing several smaller bits of exercise each day rather than trying to achieve your daily workout goal all in one chunk of time. It’s a great solution for people who don’t already have an established fitness habit or are trying to ramp up their daily activity levels.

Simply put, fitness snacking encourages us to be active instead of sedentary while we’re carrying out our everyday routines. These shorter, “bite-size” exercise portions have been shown to be as effective as — if not more effective than — longer workout sessions for controlling blood sugar levels. Here are some ways you can enjoy several five- or 10-minute exercise “snacks” each day:

instead of

  • Taking the elevator or escalator
  • Driving or busing to school or work
  • Spending 10 minutes on social media
  • Watching TV after dinner
  • Eating lunch at your desk
  • Sitting during conference calls
  • Finding the closest parking space
  • Aiming for a minutes-per-day exercise goal
  • Playing a video game with friends

consider

  • Taking the stairs
  • Walking or biking
  • Doing 10 minutes of squats, pushups, and sit-ups
  • Taking an after-dinner stroll
  • Using part of your lunch break for a walk
  • Taking calls on a headset so that you can move around
  • Parking farther away to build short walks into your errands
  • Aiming for a steps-per-day goal
  • Inviting friends to a game of basketball, tag, or hide-and-seek

 

BCBSAZ is in your corner

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona believes that everyone can use a little help when it comes to making positive lifestyle changes. For Arizonans who want to take the first step toward healthier eating and fitness routines, we’re ready to lend a hand. Check out these free programs designed to give a healthy boost to all Arizonans — whether or not they’re members of BCBSAZ.

Nourishing Arizona

We’ve partnered with organizations across the state to empower Arizonans to gain access to basic nutrition and improve healthy eating habits. Nourishing Arizona helps people make better food choices as a first step toward preventing chronic health issues. Learn more

“Get Fit. Don’t Quit!”

We’ve teamed up with fitness icon Jake Steinfeld (of “Body by Jake” fame) for this comprehensive health and wellness program to empower Arizonans to live healthier lifestyles. The program brings together videos, infographics, nutrition tips, and motivational interviews that show how making fun, simple, positive changes can support long-term wellness. Learn more

Sign Up for Information!

Opt-in to receive periodic updates about substance use disorder, mental health, and diabetes. We’ll provide news, links to resources, and ways to get involved.

  • *Required Information