Lifestyle Risk Factors for Diabetes
There are several risk factors for diabetes, and many have to do with lifestyle choices. Making the right decisions about how you live can not only help prevent type 2 diabetes, but, can help manage diabetes in general.

Lifestyle Risk Factors for Diabetes

One thing we DO know about diabetes is that the reasons why any particular person gets diabetes isn't completely known. Complicating the situation is the fact that there are different types of the disease and may even have different causes. Though Type 1 diabeters and Type 2 diabetes are the most common forms, Type 2 accounts for about 90% of cases.

Fortunately for those who are at risk, many factors associated with the onset of both forms of diabetes are lifestyle choices and therefore can be altered. Even after contracting the disease, much of the management of the disease still involves controllable issues.


One of the most widely recognized, and leading, risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes is being overweight. While there is a genetic influence associated with diabetes, some people shed or gain weight and body fat more easily than others, it is still subject to influence by choices. A high BMI (Body Mass Index) is an adjustable number with the proper diet and exercise.

A BMI of higher than 27 correlates with increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. The number should not be taken as a sole determinant, however, since its diagnostic value is less for those who are very muscular or are pregnant. But a high BMI (Body Mass Index) is an indicator of obesity and should be checked regularly.

Beyond simply being overweight, the location of the majority of excess body fat plays a role in the odds of contracting Type 2 diabetes. People who tend to store body fat around the waist are at higher risk. While that in itself is largely a genetic issue...some individuals being naturally pear-shaped while others are not...the amount stored can be influenced by diet and exercise.


Claims of supplements that theoretically target fat at the waistline are yet to be proven. Similarly, assertions that it's possible to selectively remove fat from the waist through specific exercises (spot reduction) are not completely factual. However, an overall weight-reducing diet and general exercise program will help reduce large areas of body fat, including those around the waist.

Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle increases the opportunity to add body fat and increases the odds of contracting Type 2 diabetes. This is also related to a lifestyle attitude which included adopting a mindset that brings with it a number of less than ideal choices. In particular, however, the lack of exercise is a direct cause of higher body fat percentage as well as a number of other effects.


Exercise certainly burns calories. Even in the resting state the body burns about 70 calories per hour just to power metabolic processes (basic or resting metabolic rate). However, regular actvity not only burns more fat, but helps stimulate the lymph system, strengthen and loosen muscles, oxygenate tissues and provides the body with many other positive benefits.

Among these benefits, exercise helps control blood pressure, another important factor in controlling, and perhaps preventing, diabetes. It also helps regulate glucose levels, which have a major role in the disease since excess glucose in the blood is a defining attribute of diabetes. Exercise can help improve cholesterol levels, another risk factor for contracting diabetes.

Though the risk of contracting diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, is a fact for just about everybody, it's good to know you can improve the odds by choosing to opt for healthy lifestyle choices.

Lifestyle Risk Factors for Diabetes
Copyright 2020 by Donovan Baldwin
Page Updated 2:29 PM Saturday, February 29, 2020