Tip 4: Lose extra weight

If you're overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much. Participants in one large study who lost a modest amount of weight — around 7 percent of initial body weight — and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.

Tip 5: Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices

Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first, but their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn't known nor are their long-term effects. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, think variety and portion control as part of an overall healthy-eating plan.

When to see your doctor

If you're older than age 45 and your weight is normal, ask your doctor if diabetes testing is appropriate for you. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening if:

  • You're age 45 or older and overweight
  • You're younger than age 45 and overweight with one or more additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes — such as a sedentary lifestyle or a family history of diabetes

Share your concerns about diabetes prevention with your doctor. He or she will applaud your efforts to keep diabetes at bay, and perhaps offer additional suggestions based on your medical history or other factors.

May. 29, 2013 See more In-depth