According to the CDC, 86 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes, and 90% of those with prediabetes do not realize they have it.
Prediabetes does not always show clear symptoms, so it often is undetected until serious health problems arise. Risk factors for prediabetes include:
- Being overweight
- Being age 45 years or older
- Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active fewer than 3 times a week
- Either having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
Race and ethnicity also play a role in the development of prediabetes; African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans have a higher risk.
The risk for developing prediabetes can decrease with modest weight loss and enhanced physical activity. Modest weight loss requires 5% to 7% of body weight, and regular physical activity includes 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or jogging. The CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program helps people make lifestyle changes to prevent type 2 diabetes. They include:
- Working with a trained coach
- Discovering how to eat healthy and incorporate daily physical activity
- Understanding how to manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can slow progress
- The Surprising Truth About Prediabetes [CDC feature]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 25, 2017.