March 22, 2011 is Diabetes Alert Day as designated by the American Diabetes Association. It’s a time to highlight the facts about diabetes, take what we know and make a pact with ourselves and our families to do what we can to prevent the increase of diabetes in our country, especially type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented.
Type 2 accounts for 90-95% of the 25.8 million cases of diabetes diagnosed in this country. It is believed that some 79 million Americans have what’s called prediabetes. Those people have abnormally high blood sugars and are usually overweight, inactive, and can have a family history of diabetes. Prediabetes puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We can absolutely do something about being overweight and inactive, so let’s take charge now and put a halt to the rising incidences of diabetes.
Research has found that lifestyle interventions are more cost effective than medications. “Staying at a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and getting regular exercise can help prevent prediabetes.” This is profound, yet so simple. There is no reason that we all can’t do these three things! It’s all about BALANCE!
- Eat right by balancing high fiber whole grains, lean animal and plant proteins with healthy fats each day at each meal. Example of balanced mini meal:
- Black bean burrito in whole wheat tortilla w/salsa, dark green lettuce, veggies such as orange or red peppers, & a small amount of cheese, a couple slices of avocado, ½ cup chopped mango, and a glass of tea.
- Balance out blood sugar by eating mini meals throughout the day. Eat every 3 hours or so to avoid spikes and dips in blood sugar. By planning your meals and timing of meals, you will be less likely to overeat. (Talk with a Registered Dietitian or Diabetes Educator to develop a healthy meal plan!)
- Get up and move Being physically active can help you control your weight, lower your blood sugar, help you feel better by releasing endorphins, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease, which is a known complication of diabetes. Try this: Use a pedometer to track your steps! You can benefit from walking 10,000 steps each day! (Talk with a certified trainer or physical therapist to develop an individualized exercise plan appropriate for you!) There are a limited number of free Step Up pedometers at Mountain Gear in Spokane that you can use to take the Step Up 10-thousand step challenge!
On this day, Diabetes Alert Day, take charge of your life: lower your risk of developing diabetes by following these three preventive steps and apply them each day for lifelong health. Eat right, balance blood sugar and get moving!
Heather Gabbert MS, RD, CD
Media Representative – Greater Spokane Dietetic Association