Published: November 18, 2019
November is American Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. In the United States, the CDC reports that 84 million people have pre-diabetes, putting them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes (which another 30 million Americans have).
Western Health Advantage is passionate about helping members successfully manage their diabetes. Before people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, they nearly always develop pre-diabetes, in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes should be taken seriously as it can begin causing damage to the body.
But it isn’t all bad news! The good news is you can take steps to prevent and manage diabetes. Here are four helpful steps to get you on the right track:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Your body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat calculated using your height and weight, should be in the healthy range. Visit the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to calculate your BMI.
- Eat wisely. Choose pastas, breads, cereals and crackers that show “whole” or “whole grain” as the first ingredient. Eat more fruit and vegetables, aiming to eat dark yellow and green veggies like broccoli, spinach and squash every day. Cut back on foods containing saturated fats like butter, whole milk, high-fat ice cream and cottage cheese. Visit MyFoodAdvisor for recipes and tips from the American Diabetes Association or go to WHA’s website for healthy recipes from WHA.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity helps you lose weight and control your cholesterol and blood pressure. It also helps your body use insulin. Try to be physically active for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you haven’t been active in a while, start slowly with a gentle exercise like walking. WHA offers gym discounts to our members.
- Get support. Along with your family, the relationship you establish with your doctor is one of the most important resources to help you stay on track. WHA members also have access to WHA’s diabetes program provided through Optum®.
Have a minute? Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes and take the Diabetes Risk Test now from the American Diabetes Association. Take it. Share it. Step Out.
Do you know about WHA’s diabetes incentive program for WHA members with diabetes? WHA wants to reward you for being proactive with preventive care, such as for getting a yearly dilated retinal eye test. Visit mywha.org/DRE or call 888.563.2250 to learn more.