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Diabetes Health Center

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Type 2 Diabetes - What Increases Your Risk

Risk factors you can't change include:1

  • Family history. If you have a parent, brother, or sister who has type 2 diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing the disease.
  • Age. The risk for getting prediabetes and type 2 diabetes increases with age. And the number of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is increasing. Usually, children who get type 2 diabetes have a family history of the disease, are overweight, and are physically inactive.
  • Race and ethnicity. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk than whites for type 2 diabetes.
  • History of gestational diabetes or having a baby weighing more than 9 lb (4 kg). Women who have had gestational diabetes or who have had a large baby are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Low birth weight. People who weighed less than 5.5 lb (2.5 kg) at birth are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Risk factors you can change include:

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  • Being overweight. Staying at a healthy weight can lower your risk.
  • Not getting enough exercise. Being active may help your body control blood sugar levels.
  • Eating a diet that isn't healthy. Making healthy food choices is important to avoid diabetes.

Other health problems can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes. These are also linked to obesity and a lack of physical activity:

If you're worried

To see whether you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, see the website www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test. If you are at risk, you can discuss with your doctor how to make healthy changes in your life.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 29, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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