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November is American Diabetes Month!

Denisse Guzzman, Dietetic Intern Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

November is American Diabetes Month and the theme this year is “Eat Well America”. Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, which puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood glucose levels, but these levels are not high enough to make a formal diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes and diabetes will not develop overnight. Although there are hereditary aspects that increase the risk of developing the disease in some individuals, there are significant steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing the disease. If you are overweight, even losing 10-15 pounds can make a big difference. Starting a weight loss routine can be challenging for many people. Making small gradual changes in the way you eat and incorporating physical activity on most days will promote healthy weight loss and help maintain lost weight. Here are some examples of simple ways to help.
Eat breakfast. This gets your body going early in the day and will help prevent you from eating too much during lunch and dinner. If you do not have an appetite during the morning eat something small (a fruit, a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter, yogurt)
Cut back on the total energy or calories you consume. Pay attention to food labels and the added fats and sugars you consume.
Eat more vegetables and fruits. Aim for half of your plate to be vegetables and fruits. Keep in mind it is recommended you consume more vegetables than fruits.
Get your body moving. Start small with 5-10 minutes daily on at least 5 days a week and work your way to 30-60 minutes or more each day. Find creative ways to incorporate physical activity like going for a walk after dinner and taking the stairs. You can split it up into three 10 minute sessions.
If you would like to learn more about your risk for type 2 diabetes here is a link for a Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test from the American Diabetes Association
Remember eating well should be delicious, because eating is one of the great pleasures of life.
For more information about prediabetes and diabetes please visit