You probably know that maintaining a healthy weight, eating balanced meals, and staying active can lower your risk of getting diabetes or help you control the disease if you already have it. You may also know that being overweight or obese can increase your risk of getting diabetes and other chronic conditions such as heart disease or stroke. A recent study has shown that even slowly putting on weight over time can increase your risk of getting diabetes.
A group of 645 people with diabetes were studied to see how their weight before they were diagnosed affected their health outcomes over five years. It was found that:
- Those who had progressive weight gain over the five years had a steady increase in blood pressure levels and insulin resistance.
- Those who were considered “stably overweight” had steady insulin levels over the five-year period.
The researchers think that although diabetes risk is high in all people who are overweight or obese, it will be more difficult to predict diabetes risk in those who are “stably overweight.” Therefore, more studies need to be done to find ways to predict diabetes risk in such people.
What does this study mean for me?
This study confirms that weight gain can put you at risk for dangerous health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. To avoid gradual weight gain over time:
- Visit your healthcare provider often. Get screened for blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels at least each year. Knowing your numbers can help you treat any chronic disease risk factors before they lead to heart disease and diabetes, among other health conditions.
- Eat healthy, balanced meals each day. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains each day to help keep your blood glucose levels stable and your weight in check. Try to avoid sugary drinks, fried foods, and too many processed foods since these food items contain a lot of calories per serving and provide little to no healthy nutrients.
- Stay active most days of the week. Being active for at least 30 minutes each day most days of the week can help you keep your weight in check, keep your blood glucose levels stable, and keep your body strong inside and out.
- Start a health journal or track your health data on your phone. If you can stay on top of any health issues that may arise, you can take action to help treat sooner, which can lower your risk of any serious health conditions.
- Be honest with yourself about your health. Get support or advice from a healthcare provider if you are not sure where to start so that you can prevent chronic disease from becoming a part of your life.