Diabetes Lifestyle & Diet

What is Diabetes and 4 Steps to Avoid It

What is overweight and obesity?

Overweight and obese are terms used to describe the bodyweight of people who are carrying excess body fat. To determine whether you are overweight or obese, your body mass index (BMI) is calculated using your height and weight.

Becoming overweight or obese happens gradually as a result of either;

  • consuming more energy (kilojoules from food and drinks) than your body needs,
  • consuming more energy (kilojoules from food and drinks) than your body uses by being active OR
  • a combination of both

Being overweight or obese can be harmful to your health, as it increases your risk of developing chronic diseases These include cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes and some cancers.

What causes Type 2 Diabetes?

Although there is no direct causal link for Type 2 Diabetes, lifestyle conditions can increase your risk. Excess weight acts as a barrier to insulin, reducing its effectiveness in controlling blood sugar levels. Being overweight or obese also puts strain on the pancreas, which is the organ responsible for releasing insulin into the blood. It causes the pancreas to release more insulin to control sugar levels. Over time, this can cause the pancreas to 'wear out', making it harder to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels.

What can I do to reduce my risk of overweight / obesity?

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, the best things you can do are to:

  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods from the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
  • Limit intake of foods high in saturated fat, added sugar and salt
  • Be physically active every day

Other good tips!

  • Watch your portion size
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Sit less
  • Cut back on salt
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Watch the fats you eat
  • Go for 2 fruit and 5 veg
  • Cut back on added sugar
  • Choose healthy snacks
  • Be active every day

All of these steps may seem obvious or easy on their own, but a conscious effort to achieve most of these at the same time will set you on the path to a healthier weight. Making these changes as a family or household, with a long term lifestyle change in mind, can make it a lot easier to be successful and keep the weight away for good!

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