Question: What lifestyle changes will lower my risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
Answer: So the lifestyle issues break down into three: diet, fitness, and sleep.
From a diet standpoint, there is no one single issue, like just carbohydrates or fats. A general healthy American Diabetes Association diet is the logical choice for anyone. There's no fanatic dieting that should be required here.
With exercise, again, there's no specific exercise for diabetes prevention, but just think of it as being "heart healthy." Anything good for your heart is good for your diabetes. So some aerobic training -- as much as you can do, really -- every day. When you hear people talking about three times a week, 20 minutes three times a week, they're talking about a bare minimum. And so if you can do an hour a day, or 45 minutes four or five days a week, that's terrific. And do what you like; it should have some aerobic component, and hopefully some balance, some muscle training, and a lot of people, especially those with back pain, are focusing on core training, which is something you would actually do with a trainer.
And then sleep may be the most complicated issue of all, because people tend to just not give themselves enough time to sleep. They wake up prematurely with an alarm and walk around chronically sleep-deprived. And that's a problem. You'd think that'd be the easiest one to fix; it's actually one of the hardest to fix.