People Managing Type 2 Diabetes Face Extra Stress During the Holidays

The holiday season is packed with all sorts of treats. It’s a time when many people say, “The diet starts after New Year’s,” as they indulge a bit. This temptation can be very rough when you’re trying to manage type 2 diabetes. In fact, a new survey finds that people living with diabetes have a much harder time following their health plans during the holidays.

The American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association put together an online survey on the topic as part of their Know Diabetes by Heart initiative. This survey, administered to more than 1,000 U.S. adults aged 45 and older, found that 49% of respondents had a harder time managing their diabetes during a typical fall and winter season than during the rest of the year. Twenty-eight percent said staying on track with health goals was especially concerning.


This comes as 73% of respondents said they typically had a lot or complete control over their dietary choices during a regular week, but only 52% said they did during a holiday week.

The two organizations say if you or someone you love has diabetes, it’s important to consider these challenges when putting together a holiday menu, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s.

Dr. Robert Eckel, former president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association, says, “The holidays provide challenges to staying heart healthy for many people, but especially for those managing conditions closely tied to daily nutrition, like type 2 diabetes. Even if you don’t have diabetes yourself, it’s important to create healthy environments for our friends and family members who do.”


The organizations have a few tips to help navigate these holiday get-togethers.

  • Do some of the cooking yourself so you have a little control over the menu.
  • Bring something with you, let your host know about your dietary needs, or eat beforehand.
  • Find ways to avoid temptation and stress when traveling to visit with family.
  • Incorporate healthy foods or activities into holiday traditions.
  • Keep your home free of anything that may challenge your health goals.

For more tips on addressing type 2 diabetes or to learn about its link to heart disease, visit

Support Research

Fund Diabetes research and care at The Diabetes Site for free!