Type 1 diabetes can't be prevented. However, the same healthy lifestyle choices that help treat prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can help prevent them.

  • Eat healthy foods. Choose foods low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to prevent boredom.
  • Get more physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. If you can't fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.
  • Lose excess pounds. If you're overweight, losing even 5 percent of your body weight — for example, 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) — can reduce the risk of diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.

Sometimes medication is an option as well. Oral diabetes drugs such as metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others) may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes — but healthy lifestyle choices remain essential.

Jan. 31, 2013

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.