How to Prevent Diabetes: 6 Top Tips for Better Health

If you want to live an energetic life with good health, preventing the development of any chronic disease is something you should take a keen interest in. One particular condition of concern is diabetes, a disease that affects millions globally. Diabetes, marked by elevated blood sugar levels, poses significant health risks and a burden to the health system. However, the good news is that with informed choices and proactive measures, Type 2 diabetes is often preventable.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is not just a single condition, but rather is a group of chronic metabolic diseases characterised when a person has high sugar levels in the bloodstream. This is because a hormone that assists in directing the sugar out of the bloodstream called Insulin, isn’t produced anymore or in the amount that the body needs. Ultimately, leading to a rise in sugar levels in the blood. (1) There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1, which is often genetic and usually develops during childhood or adolescence.
  • Type 2, which accounts for 85% of all diabetes and is more commonly associated with lifestyle factors and hence, largely preventable.
  • Gestational diabetes, which is a temporary condition marked by higher blood sugar levels during pregnancy. (2)

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than 1.3 million or about 1 in 20 people in Australia are living with diabetes, with a significant portion going undiagnosed and unaccounted for. Understanding diabetes is crucial in recognising its risks and taking steps to prevent it, especially in the case of Type 2 diabetes.

The Poor Health Outcomes of Diabetes

The complications of diabetes are far-reaching and can lead to severe health issues. When the condition is poorly managed these can include:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Vision loss
  • Nerve damage (3)

The Heart Foundation highlights that adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than those without diabetes. (4) These statistics underscore the critical need to learn how to prevent diabetes.

Who is at Risk of Developing Diabetes?

When it comes to who is at risk of developing diabetes, many factors come into play. By understanding the risk factors, it helps answer the question of ‘how to prevent diabetes.’ These can be split into 2 different categories being non modifiable and modifiable.

Non Modifiable risk factors put simply are ones you have no control over and may have been born with. These include:

  • Age – Unfortunately, as your age increases so does your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is especially so for those 40 years and above.
  • Family history – Having a direct family member with diabetes notably elevates your risk of developing the condition as well.
  • Race and ethnicity – Studies have shown an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in certain ethnicities. This is so for people who are of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, or Maori descent, as well as people who are from Asia, The Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Europe backgrounds.
  • Gestational diabetes – Developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy can enhance a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – women diagnosed with PCOS are at higher risk due to Insulin Resistance (5)

On the other hand we have modifiable risk factors, which are mainly attributed to lifestyle and can be changed. These include:

  • Being overweight – this is one of the largest risk factors of what causes type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Fat distribution i.e. carrying more weight around your midsection
  • Having an inactive lifestyle – this is another huge risk factor of what causes type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Blood lipid levels – specifically low HDL “helpful” cholesterol and high triglycerides increase your risk
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking (5)

6 Strategies to Prevent Diabetes

When it comes to preventing diabetes, there is plenty that can be done through simple changes to your lifestyle. In fact, research has shown that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even completely prevented in up to 58% of cases by eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity and by managing a healthy weight. Here are 6 strategies to prevent diabetes that you can adopt:

  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Emphasise fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins in the diet whilst limiting intake of sugary and processed foods.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is a significant risk factor for diabetes. Even modest weight loss can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
  • Regular Physical Activity: Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol can lead to weight gain and increased blood sugar levels.
  • Regular Health Check-ups: Early detection through regular check-ups can lead to better management and prevention. (6,7,8)


When it comes to answering the question of ‘how to prevent diabetes’ the answer involves making sustainable lifestyle changes. By understanding the risks and adopting healthier habits, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing this chronic condition. It’s never too late to start making a difference in your health. Remember, proactive steps today can lead to a healthier tomorrow.

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