Jan 1, 2009 Table of Contents

Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education Web site.

Information from Your Family Doctor

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Am Fam Physician. 2009 Jan 1;79(1):42.

See related article on management of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes.

You can improve your overall health, lower your blood sugar levels, and lower your chance of having a heart attack or stroke by changing your diet and activities. Here are a few things you can do to stay as healthy as possible after you've been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Maintain a healthy body weight

Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Losing weight and keeping it off will help you control your blood sugar and make you feel better.

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat. It is based on your height and weight. Go to http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi to calculate your BMI. A healthy BMI is less than 25. If your BMI is more than 25, talk with your doctor about things you can do to lose weight.

Begin by setting a goal to lose 7 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 250 pounds, your first goal will be to lose 18 pounds. Losing any amount of weight and keeping it off will improve your health, so don't get discouraged if you lose the weight slowly. Combining a healthy diet with exercise is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.

Make healthy food choices

Less than 25 percent of your calories should come from fat. Avoid fatty foods like deli meats, hot dogs, snack foods, and pastries. If reducing the amount of fat from calories does not help you lose weight, decrease the total number of calories you consume. The number of calories you should consume each day depends on how much you weigh.

Current weight Number of calories per day

120 to 174 pounds

1,200

175 to 219 pounds

1,500

220 to 249 pounds

1,800

250 pounds or more

2,000

Current weight Number of calories per day

120 to 174 pounds

1,200

175 to 219 pounds

1,500

220 to 249 pounds

1,800

250 pounds or more

2,000

Exercise regularly

Getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, like walking, biking, and swimming, will help you lose weight and keep it off, and it can help keep your heart healthy.

Spread your exercise out over several days each week (for example, five sessions of 30 minutes each). Try not to go more than two days without exercising.

If you do not have any major health problems that limit your activities, add resistance exercises to your routine. For example, you can lift weights three times a week, targeting all the major muscle groups.

Other resources

American Academy of Family Physicians: http://familydoctor.org

American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov


This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at http://familydoctor.org.

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.

Copyright © 2009 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

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