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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Fitness magazine, in its April edition, reports on nine, surprising diabetes risk factors. The disease affects 21 million people in the United States.

1. Watching two or more hours of TV daily Raises your risk: 14 percent How: More TV equals less activity. The fix: Limit TV time to 10 hours a week and exercise.

2. Drinking one soda a day. Raises your risk: 83 percent. How: Soda adds extra and empty calories, which can easily lead to weight gain. The fix: Switch to water, diet soda, or even better, unsweetened tea, which may actually protect against disease.

3. Skipping breakfast. Raises your risk: up to 50 percent. How: Not having that morning meal increases the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, making you hungrier and likely to eat more. The fix: Eat high-fiber cereal with low-fat milk and one-half cup of fruit in the morning. One study of people with prediabetes found that eating high-fiber cereals made their cells respond better to insulin. Consuming dairy products may also cut the risk for insulin resistance by 72 percent.

4. A bout of major depression. Raises your risk: 23 percent. How: Depression may alter body chemistry in a way that makes us more prone to developing diabetes. The fix: Take a walk. Just 30 minutes, three times a week, has been shown to improve symptoms of depression.


5. A large waist — even if you’re at a normal weight. Raises your risk: 330 percent. How: Fat in the abdomen (visceral fat) produces compounds that make cells insulin-resistant. Women should keep their waist size below 35 inches (40 inches for men). The fix: A half-hour to one hour of cardio, three to five times a week.

6. Waking up in the middle of the night. Raises your risk: 98 percent. How: Not being able to stay asleep means you’re not getting enough sleep, making you more prone to developing insulin resistance and leading to diabetes. The fix: No caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, and no TV and alcohol right before bed. Try yoga, too.

7. Eating fast food more than twice a week. Raises your risk: 100 percent. How: People who ate burgers, fries and soda more than twice a week put on 10 extra pounds and were twice as likely to become resistant to insulin. The fix: Satisfy cravings with smaller portions.

8. High stress. Raises your risk: 184 percent How: Stress can interfere with your ability to make insulin and process glucose. The fix: Allow 10-15 minutes a day to relax.

9. Consuming lots of processed meat. Raises your risk: 43 percent. How: These meats (such as hot dogs and bacon) are loaded with preservatives that may destroy insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. The fix: Cut back. A Harvard study found that women who had these meats less often than once a week had the lowest risk.

— McClatchy Newspapers

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