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HEALTH & WELLNESS by jeff csatari Prevention Is Sweet

Are you at risk for metabolic syndrome, the precursor to Type 2 diabetes? Protect yourself with these six tips.

known as pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, characterized by consis- tently high blood-sugar levels. Scariest of all: Most of them don’t know they have it—including, unfortunately, some of you reading this magazine.

WHAT YOU CAN DO.The welcome news in all this is that people can achieve a healthy weight by making some simple lifestyle changes. Diabetes researchers say that many people can prevent Type 2 diabetes (in some cases, even reverse it) by losing weight, exercising, stopping smoking, and eating a healthier diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, and nutrient- dense fruits. Below you’ll find specific actions you can do to protect yourself and your family—right now. (Note: For safety, have a physical

exam and discuss any fitness and diet changes with your physician.)

TO MANY AMERICANS, diabetes mel- litus is “what Grandma had.” And they don’t give it another thought. But diabetes is downright terrifying, a disease whose tentacles reach into the scariest of health complications: blind- ness, amputation, kidney disease, nerve damage, peripheral arterial disease, heart attack, and stroke. While family history, race, and age

all play a role in your risk for develop- ing Type 2 diabetes—and these factors can’t be changed—some people can decrease additional risk of developing the disease by maintaining a healthy body weight and getting regular exercise.

38 S COUTING ¿ JANUARY•FEBRUARY 2012 The more fatty tissue you carry

on your body, specifically in your abdomen area, the more resistant your cells become to insulin, accord- ing to the Mayo Clinic. And being a couch potato doesn’t help. Not only does physical activity help you control weight, exercise actually makes your cells more sensitive to insulin so it can regulate blood sugar more effectively. More than 78 million Americans

are dangerously close to developing Type 2 diabetes. They have what’s

GOWITH THE GRAIN. Avoid carbohy- drates with a high glycemic load, such as cookies, cakes, and sugary cereals. These foods cause spikes in blood sugar. Instead, choose whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, whole- grain pasta, and oatmeal. These starches are more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down into glucose, which results in lower increases in blood sugar and insulin.

LOSEWEIGHT. Studies show that even a 5 to 7 percent drop in body weight—11.5 to 16 pounds for a 230- pound person—significantly reduces

START THE NEW YEAR with a commitment to better health. Learn more about the causes of diabetes and get started on the road to prevention with a list of muscle- building exercises at


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