Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. In diabetes, the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar, is not produced in sufficient quantities or is not used effectively by the body. This situation creates high blood glucose levels. There are two types of diabetes:
There is nothing that can be done to prevent type 1 diabetes. However, according to Diabetes UK, three in five cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and having an active lifestyle.
Help customers to think about their diet and identify where and how they could make it healthier. Encourage customers to:
Losing weight will help to prevent diabetes. It is best to lose weight gradually – five to 10 per cent of body weight within one year is realistic and can lead to many health benefits.
Encourage customers to check their weight and waist measurements periodically. Explain the importance of measuring the waist accurately. For example, it is not the same as belt or waist size in trousers and skirts. Refer customers to the NHS Choices: Why is my waist size important? which explains how to take the measurement. Men with a waist greater than 37 inches (94cm) and women with a waist greater than 31.5 inches (80cm) are at increased risk and should be encouraged to lose weight.
Some customers who are struggling with their weight may benefit from additional support, such as a weight loss support group, a registered dietitian or a type 2 diabetes prevention programme. Find out what services are available in your area.
Exercise is good for everyone but for people at risk of type 2 diabetes, it improves blood glucose control. Combined with healthy eating and portion size control, it also helps people to lose weight.
Walking briskly for 30 minutes on five days each week is recommended as the minimum requirement for adults. The time can be split into five- or 10-minute chunks of activity. Encourage customers to record their physical activity with a pedometer, some of which are available as apps. The NHS recommends 10,000 steps a day, which could burn 500 calories a day or 3,500 calories a week – sufficient to lose about one pound of body fat. The NHS Active 10 app records the number of steps a person takes each day, the time spent on brisk walking and whether a person has managed one or more bursts of 10 minutes activity, for example either walking briskly or on a step machine. While this is less than the recommended 150 minutes activity each week, bouts of brisk activity can bring some health benefits.
Other activities that can be suggested include:
Once a person has included basic types of physical activity, other activities such as swimming, tennis, going to a gym, football or dancing could be considered.
Originally Published by Training Matters