The candy is most likely gone. Halloween costumes have barely had time to start gathering dust in the closet. And the sounds of holiday ads and music are already filling our ears. But before we move on to baking cookies and doing our holiday shopping, the American Diabetes Association and other health and wellness organizations want us to focus on November, as it is National Diabetes Awareness Month.
Diabetes affects an estimated 26 million Americans, and that number is growing larger. While there have not been any new silver bullet solutions for diabetes since last November, research has continued to reinforce the value of physical activity in helping prevent diabetes, as well as a means to improve the lives of those already diagnosed.
A recent joint statement issued by the College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association found that combining physical activity and modest weight loss has been shown to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people who are at high risk of getting the disease.
The high-level findings are clear and time-tested:
- Most people with type 2 diabetes are not active, although regular physical activity may prevent or delay complications
- Most of the benefits of physical activity come from improving the way the body responds to the insulin it produces
- Programs that combine physical activity and modest weight loss have been shown to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people who are at high risk disease of getting the disease
If you’ve read this far and are thinking, “good, but I don’t have diabetes”, you still need to pay attention. In addition to the 26 million in America diagnosed or living with the disease, another 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The risk factors for having diabetes increase if you are overweight or if you are physically active fewer than 3 times per week. Furthermore, you are at greater risk if you are 45 years of age or older. So what does that mean? Unless you are young with perfect nutritional habits, and have time to work out daily, you or someone you know is probably at risk for diabetes.
So maybe National Diabetes Awareness Month is a good time to get a 60-day head start on your New Year’s Resolutions. It’s time to find a buddy and pledge to get moving.