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How can I reduce my risk of Type 2 diabetes?

ou’ve just found out that you’re at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. But you don’t have it yet. That’s the really good news. It means that you now have the chance to make changes that can delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Around 60% of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by making lifestyle changes.

Take action now and it will make all the difference to your health in the years ahead.

Where to start?

You can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by:

  • eating well
  • moving more
  • losing weight, if you’re overweight.

Simple, right? We know it’s not that simple and we’re here to help you get started. Most people know they need to make changes, but what can be difficult is knowing how to do it – especially long-lasting changes.

Remember, if you enjoy something, you’re more likely to stick to it.

Here are some tips to get you inspired:

  • Don’t forget, you’re not alone in this – there’s lots of support out there to help you.
  • Set goals which are realistic and work for you.
  • Change one thing at a time and make the changes part of your everyday.

“I’ve always felt diabetes was inevitable for me and I’m learning that I have a say in this by the lifestyle choices I make. My goal is to fundraise and help Diabetes UK help others realise the same, so I started by taking part in Swim22.”

Tracy, who has a family history of Type 2 diabetes

Get support

Make the most of all the support and services available in your area. Ask your GP about:

  • a weight-loss programme or group
  • a registered dietitian or exercise specialist
  • a Type 2 diabetes prevention programme
  • other local services to help you move more and eat better.

It can also help to talk to family and friends – ask them to get involved too. It will help if they understand what you’re doing and why it’s so important. Plus, eating better and moving more is good for everyone, so you can do this together.

We’re here to help too, with lots of tools and stories to keep you motivated. Think about sharing your story – it could really help motivate others. And remember, the trained counsellors on our helpline are ready to support you if you have questions or just need a chat.

Set realistic goals

Like everything in life, you’ll have good days and bad days, but don’t let a bad day put you off.

Set yourself realistic goals that fit in with how you live your life. Choose the healthy food and activities that you like best. This will really help you stay on track.

And think ahead about anything that could stop you from achieving your goal, and plan how you could overcome this.

Try using our action plan (PDF) to set healthy goals and stick to them. It will help you think about:

  • what you want to do to eat better and move more
  • why it’s important
  • how you can achieve your goals.

Once you’re happy you’ve achieved one goal, try adding another. You might find it helpful to keep track of how you’re doing – this could mean keeping a food and activity diary (PDF) or weighing yourself regularly. Doing this can help see where you’re doing well and where you could do better.

Make changes part of your everyday

Changing too many things at the same time can make them difficult to stick to in the long run. Start with small things you can change about your everyday routine and build up to more.

We know it can be hard to stay motivated, but remember you’re in this for the long run. Your risk of developing diabetes is serious and you can’t reduce your risk by eating better or moving more for just a couple of weeks.

By building healthy meals into family life and moving more to help you get from A to B, you can maintain these changes and look forward to a healthy future.

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