Diabetes is a huge problem in the United States today, and one that I don't believe is taken seriously enough. According to statistics by the International Diabetes Federation, 552 million people – that’s one in 10 adults – will have diabetes by 2030.
If correct, that would be a jump of more than 200 million people with type 2 diabetes over two decades. The World Health Organization estimates that there are about 346 million people who suffer from the disease today.
The projected rise is more due to aging that the obesity epidemic, the diabetes federation said, but we’ve also seen a rise recently in children and young adults developing diabetes. Twenty years ago, type 2 diabetes was virtually unheard of in people so young.
The thing is, type 2 diabetes is still entirely preventable with certain lifestyle changes. I always preach to my patients the importance of exercise and diet.
Another study has even identified five simple habits that can cut a person’s risk of developing diabetes by as much as 80 percent.
Here’s what you need to do:
-Have a healthy diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables
-Exercise three times a week for at least 20 minutes
-Maintain normal body weight (a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9)
-Abstain from smoking
-Consume alcohol in moderate amounts
Following all five guidelines was found to be most effective in preventing against diabetes, but scientists said the single most effective factor was maintaining a normal body weight.
Men of normal weight were 70 percent less likely to develop diabetes than overweight or obese men, while normal weight women were 78 percent less likely to develop diabetes.
However, overweight people who adopted just one of the other healthy lifestyle factors, such as exercising three times a week, could still reduce their risk of diabetes.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.