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April 26, 2001

Genetics and Heredity, Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from the United Kingdom:

Both my parents have been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. They are both overweight and take little, if any, exercise. What are the chances of my developing the disease? Is there anything that I can do to help prevent the onset of the disease?


The chances of developing diabetes in each of the offspring is greater than 50% since both parents have type 2 diabetes. I would suggest the best preventive strategy would be to develop good lifestyle habits. These include the prevention of obesity, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. You should probably be checked by your primary care physician on a yearly basis for the development of type 2 diabetes.

Additional comments from James Michael Schurig, RD, LD, CDE:

I applaud you in your health concerns in light of the family history of diabetes. Diabetes risk factors that you can control are: weight management (maintaining a healthy body weight with a BMI (body mass index <27), regular exercise routine, stress management techniques, and not smoking. There are many factors that you cannot control (family history, age, ethnicity, etc.), but keep in mind that there are some things that are in your control. JMS