What is the “National Diabetes Prevention Program” (DPP) Anyway?

The National Diabetes Prevention Program, or NDPP, is a nationwide network of organizations aimed at lowering the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the US. Eligible DPP participants have been diagnosed with prediabetes or display at least 5 of the risk factors identified by the CDC’s Risk Quiz. With access to a health coach and evidence-based lifestyle change programs, participants reduce their risk of diabetes by as much as 58% — or 71% for those 60 years old and older.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 88 million American adults have prediabetes, and 84% of them are unaware. These individuals are at an increased risk of full-fledged type 2 diabetes, along with developing heart disease or experiencing a stroke. The statistics are staggering and scary — but the disease is 100% preventable. As is the case with most preventable health phenomenons, awareness is key to turning numbers around.

Enter the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, or NDPP for short.

National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) Overview

The CDC introduced the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) initiative in 2010. NDPP is essentially a framework that gives Americans access to evidence-based, affordable lifestyle change programs that delay or reverse the onset of type 2 diabetes. Partner organizations in the National DPP network include federal agencies, health professionals, employers, and others in the public and private sectors; and their shared goal is to reduce the prevalence of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in the United States.

National Diabetes Prevention Program Curriculum & Requirements

The Diabetes Prevention Program is delivered by CDC-recognized providers around the United States. All lifestyle change programs are one year in duration and share the following key elements:

  • Approved content following the CDC’s “PreventT2” curriculum
  • A Lifestyle Coach trained and certified by the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES)
  • Tracking of participants’ weight, food intake, physical activity, and coaching sessions attended
  • A designated Program Coordinator to represent each CDC-accredited NDPP provider
  • Standard operating procedures and data submission requirements for Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) providers

Offered both online and in-person, the Diabetes Prevention Program promotes lifestyle changes aimed at preventing diabetes.

As participants progress through a one-year journey, they learn to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, choose healthier foods, and practice coping skills for healthier stress management. Weight loss is used as the primary measure of success in the program, as losing 5% of your body weight can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%. However, DPP participants will tell you the impact on their life is far greater than the number they see on the scale.

MDPP vs. NDPP: Medicare & National Diabetes Prevention Program

While researching the Diabetes Prevention Program, you’ll notice a few flavors of abbreviations. We’ve already covered the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP); its lesser-known sibling is the Medicare DPP, or MDPP, offering. The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program is simply a variation of the CDC’s behavior change intervention made available to Medicare beneficiaries.

The program requirements are slightly different for MDPP. For example, in addition to the NDPP requirements, individuals must also not have end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to be considered eligible for MDPP; the program also lasts up to 24 months, and you may only participate once in your life.

Do I Qualify for the National Diabetes Prevention Program?

To qualify for a Diabetes Prevention Program referral, you must be at-risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Your diabetes risk increases if you are male, have high blood pressure, have a family history of diabetes, or had diabetes while pregnant. African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders are also at increased risk, according to the ADA.

You know you’re at risk, and therefore eligible for DPP participation, if any of the following three criteria apply:

  1. In the last year, you’ve had been diagnosed with prediabetes based on a blood test result:
    • Hemoglobin A1C: 5.7–6.4% or
    • Fasting plasma glucose: 100–125 mg/dL or
    • Two-hour plasma glucose (after a 75 gm glucose load): 140–199 mg/dL
  2. You’ve scored “high risk” on the CDC’s Prediabetes Risk Quiz
  3. You were diagnosed with diabetes while pregnant (i.e., gestational diabetes diagnosis)

The program eligibility guidelines also require that individuals:

  • Are overweight as defined by body mass index (minimum BMI of 23 for Asian Americans; BMI of 25+ for all others)
  • Are not pregnant
  • Are at least 18 years of age

Those who have diabetes or were previously diagnosed with diabetes — types 1 or 2 — are not eligible for the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Who Offers the National Diabetes Prevention Program?

Lifestyle Change Programs, a key component of the DPP initiative, are offered throughout the United States — online, in-person, and in combination delivery formats.

The class schedule, size, and cost vary by provider, so search the DPRP registry for a program that meets your needs.

Some of partner organizations may sound familiar to you. The YMCA, Baptist, Florida Blue, and USPM are on the list.

USPM Offers a Free Online Diabetes Prevention Program

USPM is fully recognized as a DPRP provider. We’re proud to deliver the Diabetes Prevention Program to populations throughout the US. If you’re interested in participating, reach out to learn about our DPP offering. As a DPP provider, USPM partners with employers, health insurance payors, and other organizations to make our lifestyle change program available to as many at-risk individuals as possible. In many cases, your participation may be 100% free to you. A representative from our Member Care team would be happy to walk you through a quick questionnaire to determine whether you are eligible for our offering.

USPM's National Diabetes Prevention Program stats
USPM maintains Full Recognition status as Diabetes Prevention Program provider.

Our DPP participants’ health outcomes speak for themselves. Those who actively engage in our Prevent T2 program for at least one year lose an average of more than 7% of their starting body weight — cutting their risk of type 2 diabetes in half and improving their quality of life.

Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) Requirements

The CDC established the Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program Standards. Organizations undergo a rigorous accreditation process to achieve Full Recognition status as a DPRP provider. The CDC requires all DPP providers to submit cohort data every six months to earn and maintain their recognition status; that data is used to evaluate whether the provider “demonstrates effectiveness” by hitting the program targets outlined in the DPRP Standards.

Join the National Diabetes Prevention Program

After participating in USPM’s Prevent T2 program for several months, Elizabeth shared her testimony: “I have lost weight, developed added strength and muscle tone, and more than that I feel stronger and more energetic than I have in years.” As amazing as her story is, it’s not the only one we’ve seen.

Individuals who participate in a CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program have more energy, more stable blood sugar levels, and less stress as they enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Take the quiz today — and take the first step toward a healthier you!

November is American Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month in the United States. Across the globe, World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14, the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting, who in 1921 co-discovered insulin with the help of his colleague Dr. Charles Best. We owe a world of gratitude to these two pioneers in diabetes treatment. Before their discovery, no successful treatment existed.

According to The American Diabetes Association:

  • Every 21 seconds, someone new is diagnosed with diabetes.
  • 84 million have pre-diabetes in the U.S. and 30 million people have diabetes.
  • Diabetes causes more deaths than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
  • Diabetes is no longer a disease – it is an epidemic.

These are astonishing facts, but don’t let that discourage you. Understanding diabetes and adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors can help control and manage diabetes, and prevent or delay the onset of diabetes for those living with pre-diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder involving the pancreas, a small organ behind the stomach. In normal digestion, food is broken down into glucose and other simple sugars (our fuel) that enter the bloodstream. When this occurs, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin goes to the cells and “opens” them allowing the glucose to leave the bloodstream by entering the cells.

Glucose is fuel to the body as gas is fuel to a car. To get the fuel (glucose) into the tank (the cells), access (taking the cap off the tank or opening the cells) must take place for the fuel to enter. Once fueled, the car will run efficiently as the body will have the energy it needs for daily activities. If glucose stays in the bloodstream, it is not in the cells to be used for energy.

Diabetes Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that can increase your chances of getting a disease. The more of the following risk factors that are present, the higher the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not being physically active
  • The presence of pre-diabetes
  • Having heart or blood vessel disease
  • Abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels
  • Over the age of 45
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Ethnicity: African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Native American or Alaska Native
  • History of gestational diabetes, a baby weighing more than 9 pounds or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Some of the above-referenced risk factors are modifiable because you can do something about them, such as smoking, being overweight, and physical inactivity. Other risk factors such as age, ethnicity, and family history are not modifiable.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes are often overlooked or rationalized as something else. Feeling poorly usually prompts a visit to a healthcare provider to find out what is wrong. One or more of the following common symptoms may be present:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/sores that do not heal
  • Dry itchy skin
  • Infections that keep coming back
  • Numbness/tingling in hands or feet

It is also possible that none of these symptoms will be experienced in the presence of diabetes. Proper treatment can help most of these symptoms go away.

Diagnosing Diabetes

Diabetes is diagnosed through glucose and hemoglobin A1C blood tests. Elevation in these tests may result in a repeat of the tests to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.

There could be many reasons for the presence of diabetes, some of which may include:

  • The pancreas is not producing any insulin (Type 1 diabetes).
  • The pancreas is producing less insulin than normal (Type 2 diabetes).
  • The pancreas is overproducing insulin, but the cells are not “opening” for the insulin to enter (Type 2 diabetes).
  • The liver is overproducing glucose at the wrong time.

Types of Diabetes

Healthcare providers look at blood glucose results as well as other factors such as weight and lifestyle to determine which type of diabetes is present.

  • Type 1 diabetes: occurs in 5-10% of people with diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas has stopped producing insulin. This usually occurs in children and young adults under the age of 30. These individuals need insulin to stay alive and will always be on insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes: occurs in 90-95% of people with diabetes.
    • The pancreas is not producing enough insulin.
    • The pancreas is overproducing insulin, but it is unable to be used, this is called insulin resistance. Individuals who are overweight may have fat layers blocking the cells preventing the insulin from getting to the cell.
  • Gestational Diabetes: occurs only during pregnancy due to hormonal changes
    • Glucose levels usually return to normal after delivery
    • Gestational Diabetes is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

How is Diabetes Treated?

Once a diagnosis of diabetes is confirmed, treatment will be recommended based on the glucose results. The goals of treatment are based on helping to:

  • Maintain glucose within the optimal range
  • Maintain optimal ranges in blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Ensure the care plan is realistic and doable
  • Prevent or delay other problems associated with diabetes

Frequently when people hear the word “diabetes”, they automatically think insulin is going to be prescribed. With all the new medications and treatments for diabetes today, that is seldom the case. You may have heard “once on insulin, always on insulin”. That is true in the case of Type 1 diabetes but not always true in Type 2 diabetes.

Lifestyle behaviors play a very important role in the management of diabetes. Notice how all of the following treatment scenarios include food and activity plans.

Food + Activity Plan

The foods eaten contribute to how high the glucose will rise as well as how quickly it will return to normal. A valued partner to the food plan, activity, plays an important role in glucose control by utilizing glucose for fuel, lowering the blood glucose for several hours. These lifestyle recommendations are included in every diabetes care plan and are the foundation of the treatment plan.

Food + Activity + Oral Medications

If changing food and activity habits are not enough to bring the glucose into the optimal range, oral medications may be added. There are many oral medications available today for a healthcare provider to choose from.

Food + Activity + Oral Medication + Non-insulin Injectable

If the addition of oral medication was not quite enough, the addition of an injectable non-insulin medication could be the next step. A non-insulin injectable is a very effective partner to oral medications before moving to insulin.

Food + Activity + Oral Medication (one or more) + Insulin (one or more)

Sometimes the pancreas produces insulin but needs a little extra help from an injection of insulin. About 14% of adults with Type 2 diabetes will need some insulin.

Food + Activity + Insulin (one or more )

When maximum doses of oral medications and combinations have been tried and the glucose is still elevated, a move to insulin is the best choice. Only about 14% of adults with Type 2 diabetes move to insulin alone as their treatment.

Creating a Healthy-Eating Plan

Eating healthy, well-balanced meals that are rich in vitamins and low in calories and fat are essential. Following the simple guidelines below can help control glucose better. The goal is to eat in a manner that healthy choices and healthy portions will:

  1. Achieve optimal glucose control.
  2. Achieve and maintain cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels in the optimal ranges.
  3. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

The basic guidelines for eating healthy with diabetes include:

  • Eating 3 meals a day, evenly spaced apart (meaning about every 4-5 hours).
  • Eating about the same times daily. Our body likes routines. This will help the pancreas and medications work best if prescribed
  • Eat about the same amount at each meal. Consistency is the key. This means that breakfast, lunch, and dinner should be about the same size daily. But all three meals do not need to be the same size.
  • Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals can cause low blood sugar resulting in overeating, which may cause the glucose to spike.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates have a bad reputation these days, but they play a number of important roles in your body from providing vital nutrients to converting into glucose, which our body uses for energy. Choosing healthy carbs,  eating them in moderation and avoiding highly processed foods is most important.

diabetes portions plate

And what about white foods? There are many white foods that provide nutrients—milk, cauliflower, and white potatoes provide potassium, Vitamin C and fiber. Look at the nutrient contribution rather than the color of the food. It is important for people with diabetes to keep the carbohydrate content of their meals consistent but not necessarily low.

The plate method or plate planner is a very easy way to portion foods for everyone, not just those with diabetes. With this method, half the plate is filled with vegetables, one-quarter with a lean protein source, and one-quarter with a starch source. The picture below will show how to do this using a 9” in diameter plate.

Adding healthy fat such as olive oil (to prepare the scallops), a low-fat dairy such as 1% or fat-free milk and fruit for dessert would complete this meal. This is a very simple, balanced meal that anyone can create. A registered dietitian is an excellent resource for more information on what to put on your plate.

Physical Activity

Physical activity and eating healthy are important parts of a healthy lifestyle whether you have diabetes or not. The basic recommendation for physical activity in the presence of diabetes is to move daily to help lower blood glucose! Don’t worry about your pace, it’s important to go slow if you are just starting out.

  • Park farther away from your destination.
  • Take the stairs when possible.
  • Work in the garden.
  • Walk during television commercials.
  • Sit less by limiting screen time (TV, computer, phone).
  • Take a walk after a meal.

Work your way up to adding weight training and cardiovascular exercises for the heart and lungs a workout. If you are thinking about starting an exercise program, always consult with your healthcare provider first.

Live your best, longest, and healthiest life by learning about diabetes, being open to making positive changes, and making those changes now for more good years®.

Helpful online resources for getting started

American Diabetes Association
American Association of Diabetes Educators
American Heart Association
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
National Diabetes Education Program

Sources:

Hamilton, Lara. “What Is the Plate Method?” Diabetes Forecast, Nov. 2014, www.diabetesforecast.org/2015/adm/diabetes-plate-method/what-is-the-plate-method.html. Accessed 24 Oct. 2019.

Life with Diabetes. 3rd ed., American Diabetes Association, 2004.

“National Diabetes Statistic Report, 2014 Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States.” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division of Diabetes Translation, Center for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/ 2014-report-estimates-of-diabetes-and-its-burden-in-the-united-states.pdf. Accessed 24 Oct.2019.

Type 2 Diabetes Basics. 5th ed., International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet, 2017.

Prediabetes: What You Need to Know

One out of 3 American adults has prediabetes – that’s 86 million people. And, 9 out of 10 of them don’t even know they have it! Prediabetes is a condition that comes before diabetes. It means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but aren’t high enough to be called diabetes. There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes. Without intervention, many people with prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.1

Prediabetes

You’re at risk for developing prediabetes if you: 

  • Are overweight
  • Are 45 years or older
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)

Diabetes

You’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you: 

  • Have prediabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Are 45 years or older
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)2

Don’t let the “pre” in prediabetes fool you into thinking it’s not a problem now. By taking action now, you have the power to not only prevent type 2 diabetes but also reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke associated with prediabetes.

People with prediabetes who do not change their lifestyle by losing weight if needed, and increase their physical activity – can develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. According to the CDC, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health issues such as:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of toes, feet, or legs

Additionally, being overweight and not physically active can make you feel sluggish and affect your mood. Making positive lifestyle changes can lower your risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and improve the quality of your overall health and wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of your family.3

The great news is that prediabetes can often be reversed. You can join a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. This proven lifestyle change program can cut diabetes risk in half. Programs are available in-person or online and are designed for people who have prediabetes or are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs are proven to work and are based on research led by the National Institutes of Health. Their research shows that people with prediabetes who participate in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old). This finding was the result of the program helping people lose 5% to 7% of their body weight through healthier eating and 150 minutes of physical activity a week. For a person who weighs 200 pounds, losing 5% to 7% of their body weight means losing just 10 to 14 pounds. It doesn’t take drastic weight loss to make a big impact.

The impact of this program can last for years to come. Research has found that even after 10 years, people who completed a diabetes prevention program were one third less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.4

How do I find out if I have prediabetes?

Take the American Diabetes Association’s Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test.

What can I learn from the program?

The program is not a fad diet or an exercise class. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a year-long program focused on long-term changes to create healthy habits for life.

Your lifestyle coach, who is specially trained to lead the program, will help you learn new skills, encourage you to set and meet goals, and keep you motivated. A year may sound like a long time, but learning new habits takes time and practice. As you begin eating better and moving more, you’ll notice a difference in how you feel.

During the first half of the program, you will learn to:

  • Eat healthy without giving up the foods you love
  • Add physical activity to your life, even if you think you don’t have time
  • Manage your stress
  • Cope with challenges and obstacles that can derail your path – like how to eat healthy when traveling
  • Get back on track if you stray from your plan

In the second half of the program, you will enhance the skills you’ve learned so you can maintain the changes you’ve made. These sessions will review key ideas such as tracking your food and physical activity, setting goals, staying motivated, and overcoming barriers.

Where can I find a program?

CDC-recognized lifestyle programs are located in a variety of places throughout the community, including:

  • Health care clinics
  • Community-based organizations
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Pharmacies
  • Wellness centers
  • Worksites
  • Cooperative extension offices
  • University-based continuing education programs
  • You can also choose an online program

To find a program near you visit, https://nccd.cdc.gov/DDT_DPRP/Programs.aspx

What’s the cost of the program?

The cost of participating in a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program varies, depending on location, organization offering it, and type of program (in person or online). Contact the program you are interested in to find out the cost. Some employers and insurance carriers cover the cost of these programs. Check with your employer or insurance carrier to see if a program is covered.

USPM is Proud to Offer the Diabetes Prevention Program

USPM is a fully recognized provider of the National Diabetes Prevention Program led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This clinically proven program helps people who are at risk for type 2 diabetes make achievable and realistic lifestyle changes — reducing their risk by up to 38%. For more information on this offering, contact us and choose the option to learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program.

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/prediabetes-type2/index.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/risk-factors.html
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/prediabetes-type2/index.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/prediabetes-type2/preventing.html

Eating Better and Exercising for Diabetes Management

Diabetes is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. It also leads to more sick days and less productivity on the job. The good news is, type 2 diabetes can be prevented, and it isn’t as hard as you might think.

Losing just 7% of your body weight (which translates to 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and exercising moderately (like brisk walking) 5 days a week can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%. Lifestyle changes can also prevent or delay diabetes complications.1

Diet & Exercise

Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle whether you have diabetes or not. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your blood glucose level, also called blood sugar, in your target range. To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you take any.

Becoming more active and making changes in what you eat and drink can seem challenging at first. It is easier to start with small changes and get help from your family, friends, and your health care team. Eating well and being physically active most days of the week can help you:

  • Keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target ranges
  • Lose weight or stay at a healthy weight
  • Prevent or delay diabetes problems
  • Feel good and have more energy

What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?

Eat smaller portions. Learn about serving sizes and how many servings you need in a meal. The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan specifies.

The food groups are:

  • Vegetables
    • Non-starchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
    • Starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
  • Fruits — includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes
  • Grains — at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains
    • Includes wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa
    • Examples: bread, pasta, cereal, and tortillas
  • Protein
    • Lean meat
    • Chicken or turkey without the skin
    • Fish
    • Eggs
    • Nuts and peanuts
    • Dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas
    • Meat substitutes, such as tofu
  • Dairy — nonfat or low fat
    • Milk or lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance
    • Yogurt
    • Cheese

Eat foods with heart-healthy fats, which mainly come from these foods:

  • Oils that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Heart-healthy fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Avocado
  • Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick margarine1

What foods and drinks should I limit if I have diabetes?

Foods and drinks to limit include:

  • Fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat and trans fat
  • Foods high in salt, also called sodium
  • Sweets, such as baked goods, candy, and ice cream
  • Beverages with added sugars, such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks

Drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea.

If you drink alcohol, drink moderately — no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man. If you use insulin or diabetes medicines that increase the amount of insulin your body makes, alcohol can make your blood glucose level drop too low.1

How much can I eat if I have diabetes?

Two common ways to help you plan how much to eat if you have diabetes are the plate method and carbohydrate counting. Check with your health care team about the method that’s best for you.

Plate Method

The plate method shows the amount of each food group you should eat. This method works best for lunch and dinner. You can find more details about using the plate method from the American Diabetes Association.

Carbohydrate Counting Method

Carb counting involves keeping track of the amount of carbs you eat and drink each day. Because carbs turn into glucose in your body, they affect your blood glucose level more than other foods do. Carb counting can help you manage your blood glucose level. If you take insulin, counting carbs can help you know how much insulin to take.1

Most carbs come from starches, fruits, milk, and sweets. Try to limit carbs with added sugars or those with refined grains, such as white bread and white rice. Instead, eat carbs from fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and low-fat or nonfat milk. Learn more about diabetes meal plans at American Diabetes Association.

Why should I be physically active if I have diabetes?

Physical activity is an important part of managing your blood glucose level and staying healthy. Physical activity:

  • Lowers blood glucose levels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves blood flow
  • Burns extra calories so you can keep your weight down if needed
  • Improves your mood
  • Can prevent falls and improve memory in older adults
  • May help you sleep better 2

What physical activities should I do if I have diabetes?

  • Ask your health care team what physical activities are safe for you. Many people choose walking with friends or family members.
  • If you have been inactive or are trying a new activity, start slowly, with 5 to 10 minutes a day. Then add more time each week.
  • Walk around while you talk on the phone or during TV commercials.
  • Do chores, such as work in the garden, rake leaves, clean the house, or wash the car.
  • Park at the far end of the shopping center parking lot and walk to the store.
  • Take the stairs instead of elevator.
  • Make your family outings active, such as a family bike ride or a walk in the park. 2

References:

  1. http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/awareness-programs/stop-diabetes-at-work
  2. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity

Traveling with Diabetes: Tips for Before, During & After

Don’t let diabetes stop you from taking your dream vacation. Traveling with diabetes doesn’t have to be complicated if you keep in mind these tips and plan accordingly. When planning a trip or vacation, there are a few things that you need to make sure you have checked off your list before you go! Preparing for your trip can help give you peace of mind and help you from running into any tricky situations with your diabetes.

Planning

  1. See your doctor.
    The first step before heading out it to see your doctor. Confirm with your health care professional that you are in good health to travel and that your diabetes is under control. Schedule the exam with enough time to work on your control before you leave. Ask your doctor for prescriptions if you need them, in order to be prepared.
  2. Ask for documentation.
    Request from your physician a note or document that shows your diabetes diagnosis and your need to pack medications.
  3. Ensure you have ample supply of your medication.
    You should always have enough medication to last you through your trip. The American Diabetes Association recommends that you carry twice as much medication as your trip would last.
  4. Pack a healthy snack.
    Always have a well-wrapped snack bag with peanut butter, whole fruit, juice box (for low blood glucose), and whole grain crackers for regulation of blood sugar. You want to make sure that you are always prepared to treat low glucose.
  5. Make a checklist.
    Be sure that you have a final checklist of items that you need and present this checklist to your physician for medical approval. Have your health care professional suggest anything else he or she recommends you bring.
  6. Consider the time zone changes.
    If you are wearing an insulin pump and will be traveling to a location in another time zone, be sure to adjust your insulin pump to reflect that time change!
  7. Bring your insurance card.
    Keep your card and any emergency contact numbers you might need on your trip.

Flying

  1. Plan your meals around your flight.
    If you have a long flight, make sure that you eat a proper healthy meal before and after your flight.
  2. Stay hydrated.
    Make sure you carry bottles of water with you during your flight to stay properly hydrated!
  3. Pack your medications in your carry on. Luggage can easily get misplaced and you wouldn’t want to be without your medication. Bring all prescription labels for medication and pack the medications in separate clear, sealable bags. Bags that are placed in your carry-on-luggage need to be removed and separated from your other belongings for screening.
  4. Manage your stress and arrive to the airport 2-3 hours prior to flight.
  5. Carry or wear medical identification and carry contact information for your health care professional.
  6. Pack any extra healthy snacks and supplies.
  7. Take breaks. If the seatbelt light gets turned off, take a few minutes to walk around. If allowed, stand and stretch in the aisle to help reduce the risk for blood clots.

Road Trip

  1. Pack a cooler of healthy foods like whole, fresh fruits, hard boiled eggs, nuts, and whole grain crackers.
  1. Pack your insulin. You will want to have your medications on hand and stored in a cool, dry place.
  2. Take breaks. It is crucial that you make sure you stop every hour or two and walk around. This will help reduce your risk for blood clots!

When You Arrive

  1. Take it easy.
    Traveling can be taxing on the body. When you arrive to your destination, check your blood glucose and relax your body for a few hours.
  2. Plan your activities.
    Make sure that you are planning your activities so that you can be on a routine of insulin checks and meals.
  3. Stay hydrated.
    Be sure to pack an adequate amount of water and liquids for you to stay hydrated. Be wary of drinking any tap water or ice cubes when overseas.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes.
    This is especially important for those who will be walking or hiking on their getaway. Check your feet daily for blisters, cuts or swelling. If you see a sign of inflammation, get medical care.
  5. Note local hospitals and pharmacies.
    In case of an emergency, know where to go! Take note of the closest medical centers.

For more information on traveling with diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website.

References

Investing in Our Future: Our Children

It’s easier to establish healthy behaviors during childhood than having to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood.

Chronic conditions are becoming increasingly common among children and adolescents in the U.S. Did you know that about 1 in 4 adolescents suffers from a chronic condition such as diabetes and asthma?1

Obesity On the Rise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The percentage of U.S. children aged 6 to 11 years who were obese increased from 7% in 1976-1980 to nearly 18% in 2011-2014. The percentage of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 21% during the same period.”1

Developed by the CDC, The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model brings together public health, education, and school health to improve health and learning. Children with chronic conditions may miss more school days which reduces their time for learning and may result in lower academic achievement. It’s important to manage these conditions effectively with the right nutrition and ample physical activity. Healthy behaviors are practices ingrained early in childhood and it’s essential that children and adolescents have a healthy school and healthy environment in order to succeed.

Physical Activity

Schools and parents can help increase the quantity and quality of physical education and physical activity during and after school hours. Benefits of physical activity have been proven to help build muscles and healthy bones, and improve strength and endurance. Physical activity can aid in managing weight, reducing stress and increasing self-esteem – which may positively impact children’s academic performance.

Diet and Nutrition

Creating healthy eating habits early in childhood life helps set the path to a healthier adulthood. Healthy eating along with physical activity help support proper growth and development and can prevent health problems such as obesity, diabetes, etc. Teaching and including children in healthy meal preparation and cooking is a great way to reinforce healthy eating habits as well.

Focus on Prevention

Did you know?
  • Did you know that 51% of all causes of death in the U.S. are attributable to lifestyle behaviors many of which are preventable through healthy habits?2
  • Did you know that 85% of all type 2 diabetes and its side effects are preventable?2

While some life events are out of our control and cannot be prevented, it’s clear that we can prevent many of the health problems by engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors. Schools, parents, and health care practitioners can help educate children and adolescents to make smart food choices, exercise to build strong bodies and monitor their health and any chronic conditions they may have.

Manage Chronic Conditions

To reduce school absenteeism schools, parents, and health care practitioners can help by using proven practices to better manage chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, food allergies, etc. For more information about managing chronic conditions, visit www.cdc.gov, then click on Diseases & Conditions.

References:

  1. CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/healthy-schools.htm
  2. Mokdad AH, et.al. Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000. JAMA. 2004; 291:1238-1245

Diabetes: Prediabetes, Risks, and Prevention

Did you know that more than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes? There are 1.4 million new cases each year alone in the U.S. In addition, 86 million Americans are living with prediabetes, the stage just before diabetes when not all the symptoms are present that warrant a diagnosis.1

What Are the Risk Factors?


Diabetes Facts and Statistics

  • Age: As we age we are more at risk for developing diabetes. Specifically, being over the age of 45 puts you at higher risk.
  • Weight: Being overweight can put you at risk for diabetes. The more fat we have in our bodies the more resistant our cells are to insulin, a hormone produced by our pancreas.
  • Family History: Has anyone in your immediate family (mother, father, sister or brother) been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Race: Diabetes occurs more often in individuals who are African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino-American, and Pacific Islander backgrounds.
  • Physical Inactivity: Exercising less than 3 days a week can put you at risk.
  • History of Gestational Diabetes: Were you ever diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy? Or had a baby who weighed 9 pounds or more?
  • High Blood Pressure: Have you been told that you have high blood pressure, a reading of 140/90 or higher?
  • Low HDL Cholesterol: Is your “good” cholesterol less than 35 mg/dL?
  • Abnormal Triglyceride Levels: Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood stream. Levels of triglycerides above 250 mg/dL can put you at increased risk.

Are You at Risk?

To find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, complete the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test on American Diabetes Association website.

There are several ways to diagnose diabetes. Each way usually needs to be repeated on a second day to diagnose diabetes. Testing of your blood glucose levels should be carried out in a health care setting (such as your doctor’s office or a lab) and you should follow the advice and instructions of your health care professional.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. When you have prediabetes, your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but are not high enough to be called diabetes. Diabetes can lead to many health problems, so it’s better to prevent it in the first place. You can take steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and heart disease.3

How Can You Prevent or Delay Diabetes?

You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes from developing by:

  • Cutting back on calories and saturated fat.
  • Losing weight.
  • Increasing your daily physical activity.4

If you’re overweight, losing 7% of your total weight can help you a lot. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose 14 pounds.

How Do You Decide What to Do?

You don’t have to make big changes. Small steps can add up to big results. Talk with your health care team to make a plan. Always consult with a health care professional before starting any exercise program. A good goal for most people is:

  • Walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • Being more active throughout the day by parking further from the store, or taking the stairs.

Make a plan to eat less fat and calories. You can meet with a dietitian to talk about what to eat and how to lose weight. You might try:

  • Starting each dinner with a salad of leafy greens. Salad provides nutrients and fills you up. Then you might eat less of any high-calorie foods that might come later.
  • Switching from regular soda and juice to no-calorie water.

Visit diabetes.org/prediabetes to learn more about managing your prediabetes. For recipes and meal planning, visit Recipes for Healthy Living

References:

  1. http://www.diabetes.org/
  2. http://main.diabetes.org/dorg/adm/adm-2016-fact-sheet.pdf
  3. http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/prediabetes/
  4. http://professional.diabetes.org/sites/professional.diabetes.org/files/media/All_About_Prediabetes.pdf