There’s a lot you can do to help prevent type 2 diabetes. For example, you can eat healthy foods, work out, avoid smoking, and keep a healthy weight. Other things like lowering your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar also help lower your risk. Diabetes is a big problem in Latinos.  Of all the different groups, Latinos are the most at risk for type 2 diabetes.

More about diabetes prevention and risk factors

The American Heart Association’s factors for a healthy heart include markers such as diet, total cholesterol, tobacco use, physical activity, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure. This study uses these factors to also see how they impact one’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Participants in this study with excellent heart health based on these factors had 75% lower occurrence of diabetes. Participants with moderate heart health based on these factors had 35% lower occurrence of diabetes.

There was also a difference in risk for type 2 diabetes according to race. Among the group of participants with excellent heart health markers, Latinos had the highest prevalence of diabetes, followed by African Americans. The lowest prevalence was among non-Latino white Americans. Across all races, one’s risk for type 2 diabetes was linked to one’s health behavior (diet, exercise, smoking, body mass index) and health factor (blood pressure, blood sugar, total cholesterol).

Participants in this study who developed type 2 diabetes had higher baseline body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and fasting plasma glucose. The incidence rate of type 2 diabetes was higher in Latinos from 2000 – 2012 than African American and non-Latino whites. Poor diet, smoking, lack of physical exercise, high body mass index, and high blood pressure are all important factors that increase one’s risk for type 2 diabetes.

[Abstract link]

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