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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

What can I do to reduce my risk of type 2 diabetes?

Lifestyle changes

People can often prevent or delay getting diabetes by watching what they eat and exercising regularly.

Staying at a healthy weight is very important. Extra weight, especially around your stomach, makes it harder for insulin to control your blood glucose (blood sugar). If you are overweight, losing just 5 to 10% of your weight may be enough to avoid getting type 2 diabetes. For advice about losing weight see How to lose weight.

Dietary tips

FDP wholegrain breadThere is no special diet for people with prediabetes. Eating a variety of foods in moderation is important, however cutting down on foods with added sugar is a good idea.

How to be more active


The most effective treatment for prediabetes is to lose weight and watch your diet. No medicine is anywhere near as effective as this. However, if the diabetes test (HBA1c) shows your blood sugar is rising to near the diabetes range even though you have made as many changes as you can over six to 12 months, then your doctor may prescribe metformin. You can also read more about metformin on this factsheet and this page from Diabetes New Zealand (under the heading Biguanides).

Being in control

Having a diagnosis of prediabetes is a warning that you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But the good news is that it has been caught in time and you may be able to change the outcome. Healthy eating, watching how much carbohydrate you eat, losing weight if you are overweight, and regular activity will help to slow down, or even stop, the progression to diabetes.

On the next page: Who can help me reduce my risk of type 2 diabetes?

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Page created June 2016.


See also:

How to cut down on sugar

Images courtesy of Bread by Grant Cochrane, couple by imagerymajestic

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Review key: HIPDI-114335