Diabetes

Frequently Asked Questions

9. Can diabetes be prevented?

The two most common forms of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Currently, there is no way to delay or prevent type 1 diabetes. However, research has shown that making modest lifestyle changes can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in people at risk for the disease.

In the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a landmark study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, researchers found that adults at high risk for type 2 diabetes were able to cut their risk in half by losing a modest amount of weight and being active almost every day. This means losing 5 to 7 percent of body weight (that's 10 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and getting 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

The DPP study also showed that modest weight loss (achieved by following a low calorie, low-fat diet) and moderate physical activity were especially effective in preventing or delaying the development of diabetes in older people. In fact, people over the age of 60 were able to reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 71 percent.