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November is American Diabetes Month and many retailers are ramping up their usual diabetes programs with special screenings, classes, tours and other events. But retailers can impact shoppers without diabetes by clueing them into a common condition called prediabetes.
Nearly 30 million American children and adults have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But nearly three times as many—86 million—have prediabetes and nine out of 10 don’t even know it.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15 percent to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
But there’s good news, too. People with prediabetes can take steps to lower their risk of developing diabetes. Think of prediabetes as an early warning system to prevent diabetes down the line.
Share these facts and tips with your shoppers to help raise awareness of prediabetes and, hopefully, motivate them to take control:
Know the prediabetes risk factors. People with these risk factors are more likely to develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and are good candidates for screening:
- Older age, especially those over 45 years
- Overweight or obese
- Family history of diabetes
- African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander racial or ethnic background
- Diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
- Physically active less than three times a week
Act right away. People with prediabetes don’t automatically get type 2 diabetes. Some people who get early treatment can actually return their blood sugar levels to normal.
Shed pounds to slash risk. Overweight people with prediabetes can slash their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent by losing 5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight (that’s 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) and by getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (for example, a 30-minute brisk walk five times a week). Even losing just a few pounds can help.