Am I at Risk for Diabetes? Ask a Nutritionist. March 6, 2019

Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist and volunteer at Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic. Prior to joining the Clinic, she served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP).

Did you know that one in three Americans are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes? Another 86 million American adults have prediabetes, which means that their blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

The major risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight, an inactive lifestyle,  over the age of 45 and having a family history of diabetes. African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos are at an increased risk. So are women who have had gestational diabetes or had a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth.

But there is good news!  If you are at risk, you can take steps to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. Losing just 7 percent of your body weight —such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds— through regular physical activity and healthy eating can greatly reduce your risk. Regular physical activity, such as walking for 30 minutes, five days a week, following a healthy eating plan, and stopping smoking can help lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. And ask your doctor if you should take the any diabetes medicines to help delay or prevent the disease.

The first step is to find out if you are at risk. Take this simple test and get started to a healthier you:


To learn more about healthy eating and setting a weight loss plan, make an appointment with Joanne Gallivan, RDN, during your next appointment at Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic.

Joanne M. Gallivan, M.S., R.D.N. is a registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She served as the Director of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) in the Office of Communication and Public Liaison for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1997-2016.  Previously, Ms. Gallivan has served as project manager for NIDDK’s Weight-Control Information Network (WIN), a national source of information on weight control, obesity, and weight-related nutritional disorders for health professionals and the public; as Contract Manager for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Cholesterol Education Program and Obesity Education Initiative, and as Director of the Prince George’s County Health Department Nutrition Division located in Maryland.

Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, that provides free medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist. The Free Clinic serves uninsured adults living at or below 200 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, Wadmalaw or James Islands. You can follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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