Diabetes risk factors include a variety of environmental factors that are under your control including weight, diet, and level of activity. However there are a variety of risk factors that you have no control over such as genetic influence, ethnicity and age. The good news is that even those areas that are out of your control can be influenced by your diet, exercise level and weight.
Obesity is the number one cause of type 2 diabetes. This is due to a poor diet and lack of routine exercise. If you have a family history of diabetes and want to reduce your diabetes risk factor it is essential that you maintain a healthy weight level. The best way to do this is eat a diet that is rich in vegetables and fish and low in starches which turn into sugar as soon as they enter your digestive system and can make absorbing the sugar into your cells more difficult. Exercise is also essential to maintain a healthy weight. However you may not know that exercise is also key for other reasons such as increasing stimulation of the pancreas which increases insulin production which in turn stimulates absorption and helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.
As I mentioned above, the risk factors that are out of our control include age, ethnicity and family history. While it is not understood why certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop diabetes it is certain that if you take control over those areas that I have mentioned (diet, exercise, and weight) you reduce your risk exponentially. The same goes for age. As we age we tend to become more sedentary and consume a diet that is high in starches. Therefore it is recommended that after the age of 45 you are tested yearly, especially if you are in a high risk category (family history or ethnicity).
Regardless of your family history and ethnicity you do have a certain amount of control over this disease. Maintain a proper weight, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly and you will increase your odds of ever getting this horrific disease.