Health Watch -- Diabetes and Obesity (Part 3)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


When it comes to managing diabetes, you have a lot of control over your own destiny.

A study from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that half of all adult American diabetics are obese and that only a fraction have their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol under control. This leaves a large number of diabetics at risk for heart disease and other complications.

Nutrition experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease. In fact, diabetics have the same risk for a heart attack as people who already have coronary heart disease.

The good news is that you have a lot of control over managing or preventing adult-onset diabetes. There may be genetic factors involved, but lifestyle plays a big part. Obesity and physical inactivity are two key lifestyle factors related to diabetes or to the metabolic syndrome that is a major risk factor and precursor to diabetes. You can decrease your risk for complications by losing weight and getting regular exercise.

Improving your diet is also important. Dr. Abhimanyu Garg, a UT Southwestern nutrition researcher, says a diet rich in fiber from fruits and vegetables can help lower blood sugar and blood lipids. Diabetics are also encouraged to lower their intake of cholesterol and saturated fat.

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Feb. 2004

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