Happy November TAND members!
Every month kicks off a new slew of national health observance and holidays, but I want to take a moment to highlight one that I’m pretty passionate about. November is #AmericanDiabetesMonth and I’m proud to be an RD and Lifestyle Coach who delivers the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).
The sad truth is that more than 1 out of 3 American adults have Prediabetes and 90% of people with Prediabetes don’t even know they have it! Could this be your client?
Remember that Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as Diabetes. Prediabetes puts individuals at an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. (Type 2 Diabetes -- when your cells don’t respond normally to insulin -- is the most common form of Diabetes, with about 90-95% of people with diabetes having Type 2.)
Think of Prediabetes as a fork in the road… ignore it, and your risk for Type 2 Diabetes goes up. (Without lifestyle changes most people with Prediabetes will develop Type 2 Diabetes within five to six years!) But, Prediabetes is reversible with long-term lifestyle changes! That’s where RDs come in.
What can YOU do to help your clients get real about their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes? Here are 5 strategies:
1) KNOW THE RISK FACTORS FOR PREDIABETES
- Being overweight
- Being 45 years or older
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Having ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- Or being African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islanders, or Asian Americans
2) TAKE THE TEST
It only takes one-minute to administer this simple risk test with your clients. (Link to Prediabetes Risk Test: https://doihaveprediabetes.org) OR for my favorite version, have clients view this short puppy video. (Link to Puppy Risk Test Video: https://youtu.be/9HhZt29SEkM)
3) WORK WITH CLIENTS ON WEIGHT LOSS
Helping people lose just 5% to 7% of their current body weight can greatly impact their risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.
4) ENCOURAGE CLIENTS TO INCREASE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
You know the goal! 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week helps improve blood sugar management in individuals.
5) FOCUS ON LOWER-FAT FOODS
Through my experience with DPP and the tremendous success rate I’ve seen, this strategy WORKS! Prioritize lowering fat intake with your clients will aid in their weight loss efforts and motivate them when they start seeing results.
I hope you find these strategies helpful when it comes to working with your clients who have Prediabetes. If you like articles like this let me know at handmadehealthy [at] gmail [dot] com! I’m also dedicating the next month to increase awareness about Prediabetes and you too can follow along on my Facebook or Instagram for all my expert insight!
Lindsey Joe, RDN, LDN
TAND Social Media Coordinator & Nashville Media Rep