Diabetes is a common disorder in which the
body has difficulty controlling levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Normally,
the hormone insulin made by the pancreas (an organ in the abdomen) regulates blood sugar levels. The
bodies of individuals with type 1 diabetes, which
usually starts by the early teen years, do not make enough insulin to control
blood sugar, so they must receive insulin injections. The bodies of persons
with type 2 diabetes are resistant to the effects of insulin. Type 2 diabetes, also known as "adult-onset" diabetes, usually develops
in adulthood but can also occur in overweight children. Family history of
diabetes and excess weight, especially weight carried around the middle, are
strong risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Losing weight greatly
reduces your chances for type 2 diabetes and can help bring your blood sugar
under control if you already have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be
treated with diet, exercise, and oral prescription medications but may require
The August 25, 2004, issue of JAMA includes
an article reporting that women who increased drinking sugar-sweetened beverages
to 1 or more drinks per day were more likely to gain weight and that a high
consumption of these beverages was also related to a higher risk of type 2
Get regular exercise—at least 30 minutes per day of brisk
walking, sports, or active games.
Eat a healthful diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
and low in refined carbohydrates, such as sweets and white bread.
Limit the amount of high-sugar beverages you drink, such as soft
drinks and fruit punches.
Avoid high-fat foods like ice cream, butter, and high-fat meats.
Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women, 2 per
day for men, and none if you have any difficulty controlling alcohol intake.
Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large
Always eat a balanced breakfast.
If you are overweight, aim to lose no more than 2 pounds per week—losing
more than that can be unhealthy and often leads to rebound weight gain.
Get your family and friends involved by encouraging them to eat
healthful foods and exercise together.
Realize that your diet and exercise regimen are lifestyle changes that
must be maintained in the long term to keep weight off.
American Diabetes Association 800/DIABETES (800/342-2383)http://www.diabetes.org
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases 800/860-8747 http://www.niddk.nih.gov
To find this and other JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link
on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com.
A Patient Page on losing weight was published in the June 14, 2000, issue;
one on type 2 diabetes in children was published in the September 26, 2001,
issue; one on the ABC's of diabetes was published in the May 15, 2002, issue;
and one on type 1 diabetes was published in the October 22/29, 2003, issue.
Sources: National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney
Diseases, American Diabetes Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate
in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For
specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied
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with patients. Any other print or online reproduction is subject to AMA approval.
To purchase bulk reprints, call 718/946-7424.
Parmet S, Lynm C, Glass RM. Weight Gain and Diabetes. JAMA. 2004;292(8):998. doi:10.1001/jama.292.8.998