Nutrition Communications Manager, British Nutrition Foundation (BNF)
Type 2 diabetes can seriously harm health but taking action to eat better and move more can delay or prevent the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is preventable
It is estimated that there are over 12 million people in the UK who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This condition can seriously impact health, including causing nerve damage, kidney problems and loss of vision, as well as significantly increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. But more than half of all type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented or delayed.
Change that works
There is a strong link between body weight and risk of type 2 diabetes – 90% of adults with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. It is estimated that people living with obesity are seven times more likely to develop the condition than people of a healthy weight. Even losing 1kg can help reduce your risk. But losing weight is not easy, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic can make it even more difficult.
In the long run, most approaches to weight loss that cut calories have similar results and so the key is finding something that works for you.
In the long run, most approaches to weight loss that cut calories have similar results and so the key is finding something that works for you. And it’s not just about the numbers on the scales. It’s important to improve health and this is about eating well, moving more and feeling good.
Finding your balance
Limiting sugary drinks, both red and processed meat and eating more fruit, vegetables and fibre are all associated with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. You can look for practical steps that work for you such as adding frozen vegetables to dishes, swapping sugary drinks for water or sugar free versions or switching to wholemeal instead of white bread or pasta.
Getting active is also linked to reduced risk and any increase you can manage can be beneficial, for example, fitting one or two 10-minute brisk walks into your day. Change can be challenging so it’s important to remember you don’t have to do it alone. Your GP can advise on support available in your area and it may also help to get family and friends involved. Taking action to improve your health now can make a real difference in reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and protecting your health for the future.
BNF does not endorse any companies, products or brands that may feature in this publication.