Know Your Risk for Diabetes

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a reminder to take a moment from our busy lives and assess our health and well-being. Experts say at least one-quarter of the 30 million people in the United States—more than seven million—who have diabetes simply don’t know they have this serious disease. When symptoms are silent, we must think about our risk factors and protect our health.

How can you learn whether you or someone you love is at risk for diabetes? The best approach is to have a clear and thorough discussion with your doctor, but here are some factors to consider:

  1. Prediabetes: If a health care provider has said you have prediabetes, it doesn’t mean you will automatically develop diabetes. But you should learn what steps to take—such as losing weight or exercising more—to avoid diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers detailed information about prediabetes in English and Spanish.
  2. Family history: If one of your parents, siblings, or grandparents has heart disease or diabetes, then you have a higher risk of developing diabetes. It is important to know your family’s medical history so you can share it with your doctor.
  3. Race/Ethnicity: Some racial and ethnic groups have a greater risk of diabetes. According to the ADA, the rate of diabetes among Latinos is almost double that of non-Latino Whites
  4. Age, weight, and activity level: As we get older, our risk for certain health conditions—including diabetes—goes up. Your weight and the amount of exercise you get are critical factors in determining diabetes risk. Take a quick online test; it is also available in Spanish.
  5. Diet and excessive sugar: Cutting back on sugary beverages (see below), limiting portion sizes, and filling half your plate with fruit and vegetables are all healthy choices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has additional healthy tips and you can also learn from NCLR’s nutrition and wellness information.

How to Prevent Diabetes: A Twitter Chat

March 24 was Diabetes Alert Day this year. To mark the ocassion, NCLR joined the American Medical Association, the YMCA, the National Council on Aging, and the National Association of City and County Health Officials for a twitter chat on what people can do to fight against diabetes.

Know Your Risk for Type-2 Diabetes

Currently, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people. Another 86 million have prediabetes and are at risk of developing diabetes, but only about 9 million are aware of it. You may not be at risk, but what about the people you love?

On this Diabetes Alert Day, we want you to take the steps needed to fight back against diabetes in our communities. Take the Diabetes Risk Test today!

 

Together We Can Beat Diabetes in Our Communities

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the risk of diabetes can vary among Hispanic subgroups in the United States. However, Latinos overall are at greater risk for diabetes than non-Hispanic Whites. The ADA refers to a 2014 study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that examines the prevalence of diabetes in the Latino community—at nearly 17 percent (including an estimate of those who are not yet diagnosed)—compared with just over 10 percent among non-Hispanic Whites.

Nearly 80 percent of Latinos in the U.S. are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for stroke, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. NCLR is working with several partners to address the issues of nutrition and health within the Latino community:

  • Community organizations throughout the nation are part of NCLR’s Comprando Rico y Sano program that provides information and resources to boost healthy eating and reduce hunger among Latinos. Visit our web page to find a local group near you, healthy recipes that are easy and affordable, and information on enrolling in a federal nutrition assistance program.
  • The YMCA has a coalition that includes NCLR and works to increase awareness of diabetes and diabetes prevention. Are you one of the 86 million Americans with prediabetes? Take this quick online diabetes screening test to assess your risk and see if you should talk to a doctor. Check out information from the ADA on what you can do to lower your risk or delay getting type 2 diabetes.
  • NCLR also works with Peers for Progress to help more people learn about the effectiveness of peer support programs in managing chronic diseases including diabetes. Watch this video (also below) and learn how community-focused and culture-specific peer support programs can help diabetes patients experience improved, longer-lasting health outcomes.

Want to learn more? Join us for a Twitter chat at 2 p.m. EDT on Diabetes Alert Day—Tuesday, March 24—and bring your questions and comments for NCLR health experts and others at #DiabetesAlert.

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Five Tips to Reduce Sugary Drink Consumption

1. Drink more water. There is no better thirst quencher than water! Our bodies are composed of about 60 percent water, making it necessary for our survival and good health. Start replacing soda and other sweetened beverages with water. You can flavor water naturally with berries, lemon, or cucumber. Plus, the health benefits of water are many, including healthier-looking skin and energized muscles.

2. Eat fruit instead. It is easy to mistake some high-sugar juice drinks as healthy. While fresh fruit does contain sugar, it is okay because fruits are also packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Next time you’re craving something sweet, grab some watermelon, mango, or another fruit of your liking instead of a sweet drink. You can even mix fruit chunks with ice in the blender for a refreshing smoothie!

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3. Snack healthily. While sugary drinks often accompany meals, they may sometimes take the place of snacks. The more you consume healthy snacks like whole nuts, fruit, or vegetables, the less your body will seek out something sweet. If you keep small portions of healthy snacks in your car, desk, or purse, you can easily grab these instead of a sugary drink the next time you feel hungry in between meals.

4. Rethink your grocery list. If you don’t make a list when grocery shopping, start doing it. Healthy eating starts with thoughtful planning. Almost half of our sugary drink calories are consumed in the home. This means that we are buying many of these sweetened beverages ourselves, making them readily available to the whole family. Get into the habit of making a grocery list free of sweetened beverages and stick with it.

5. Learn the different names for sugar. With processed food, sugar comes in different forms and names so it can be tricky to know which beverages and foods contain sugar. Knowledge is power! Familiarize yourself with the different names—high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, fruit juice concentrate, etc. These are listed in the ingredients section of nutritional facts label. The closer to the top these ingredients are listed, the more sugar you’re eating. A good rule of thumb is to consume products with very few of these ingredients, typically those that are less processed.

NCLR is currently working to improve nutrition and reduce hunger among the Latino community through Comprando rico y sano, a program supported by the Walmart Foundation and General Mills, Inc.