How to Avoid Diabetes: 4 Steps to Take

There are steps you can take to help yourself learn how to avoid diabetes, particularly type 2 and gestational diabetes.

how to avoid diabetes

Exercise is a key to preventing type 2 diabetes.

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Type 1 diabetes is currently not preventable, though research focused on what causes it may one day lead to preventative measures. For type 2 and gestational diabetes, however, many of the treatment options involving lifestyle changes can help delay or even prevent diabetes. Here, we offer four lifestyle tips on how to avoid diabetes.

1. Maintain a healthy weight.

In this day and age, we now have sensible diets designed for those dealing with diabetes. We have snacks for diabetics, diabetic breakfasts, and diabetic desserts. Even though there are more choices, we still need to eat a balanced, healthy diet that helps you maintain an appropriate weight or body mass index. It’s one of the most critical measures you can take to delay or prevent diabetes.

A large-scale, national study called the Diabetes Prevention Program concluded that people can delay or potentially prevent type 2 diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. (See No. 2 below.)

Reducing high-sugar, high-fat, and processed foods and increasing your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is a great way to start a healthy eating plan. Keeping track of your portion size and total caloric intake is also very important. Consulting with a registered dietitian who can help you create easy, healthy meal plans can be very helpful.

2. Exercise regularly.

Increasing your physical activity can help you maintain an ideal body weight in addition to decreasing your risk of many other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers. Finding a form of exercise that you can easily fit into your daily routine and that you enjoy will increase your chances of making it a lifelong habit.

If you have other health problems, you will want to consult your healthcare provider about an exercise plan that’s safe for you. (See also our post “Get Moving Before Symptoms of Diabetes Appear.”)

3. Know your risk factors.

Knowing what risk factors you might have for diabetes is another key factor. If you know that you have a higher chance of developing the disease, making lifestyle changes early on will be afford you the best chances of delaying or even preventing diabetes. (See also our post “How Do You Get Diabetes?“)

4. Get regular check-ups to learn how to avoid diabetes.

Seeing your healthcare provider on a regular basis will allow him or her to monitor for warning signs, essentially showing you how to avoid diabetes. The sooner these signs are detected, the sooner preventative and therapeutic measures can be taken.

For more on diabetes, please visit these University Health News posts:


Originally published in 2016, this post is regularly updated.

As a service to our readers, University Health News offers a vast archive of free digital content. Please note the date published or last update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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Helen Boehm Johnson, MD

Helen Boehm Johnson, MD, is a medical writer who brings the experience of a residency-trained physician to her writing. She has written Massachusetts General Hospital’s Combating Memory Loss report (2019, 2020, … Read More

View all posts by Helen Boehm Johnson, MD

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