Preventing Prediabetes and Diabetes

By Bob Greene,

Posted on | By Bob Greene

Diabetes and prediabetes have reached epidemic levels in this country. Newly diagnosed cases of diabetes increased by 90 percent from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. And the number of Americans with diabetes has tripled from 1980 through 2006. As many as 95 percent of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, the type that is often--but not always--triggered by obesity. Based on the number of people with prediabetes, it looks like there's no end in sight to the trend: Nearly one in five people has prediabetes, a pre-cursor of diabetes. (Check out the box below to learn about the different types of diabetes.)

These are sobering statistics, but there is good news. You may be able to avoid these two conditions by making easy but significant lifestyle changes, like the ones recommended on The Best Life plan. And if you already have either of these conditions, you can manage it, ward off complications and stay healthy by making similar adjustments to your diet and exercise plans. This is the premise of my new book (co-authored by endocrinologist John J. "Jack" Merendino, Jr., M,D., and Best life lead nutritionist Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D.) The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes.  To reduce your risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, use these strategies:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. You'll find many of the same weight-loss guidelines from The Best Life Diet in this plan for fighting diabetes. For instance, in this book, I recommend eating three meals including a nutritious breakfast and two snacks a day (three snacks, if you're eating more than 2,250 calories a day); eliminating alcohol for a short time; and using the hunger scale, a tool that helps gauge physical hunger and fullness. Being overweight or obese significantly increases your risk for prediabetes and diabetes, so taking off extra weight is very important. In fact, people who carry their weight around their middle are most at risk for the disease. In one study, people who had the largest waistlines were 10 times more likely to have diabetes than those who had the smallest. To find out your waist circumference, take a measuring tape and wrap it around your bare abdomen just above your pelvic bone. The tape should be snug, but not pressing into your skin. Exhale a little and measure. The healthy cut-off: Men should be less than 40 inches; women should be less than 35. (If you're of Asian heritage, the numbers are 38 for men and 33 for women.)

Article written by Bob Greene
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