Top 10 Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

There is growing concern over diabetes in the United States. In 2015, over 30 million Americans had diabetes, and about 29 million of those had type 2. Some people with diabetes were undiagnosed and unaware of their condition, and about 84 million had prediabetes.

It’s concerning.

But there’s a lot of white noise when it comes to our health. A simple internet search can diagnose you with anything from a cold to cancer, and it feels like we’re always hearing about something new that either causes disease or cures it. The truth for diabetes though, is that type 2 risk factors are well-established. We researched well-respected health organizations and diabetes authorities and found the risk factors for type 2 that showed up most consistently. Here are, in no particular order, the top 10:

Photo: AdobeStock/Ocskay Mark
Photo: AdobeStock/Ocskay Mark

1. Family History

If a parent or sibling has diabetes, you are at greater risk. Both genetics and bad family habits (such as poor diets or being inactive) can increase risk.

Photo: AdobeStock/Olesia Bilkei
Photo: AdobeStock/Olesia Bilkei

2. Weight and Fat Distribution

Being overweight is the top risk factor for type 2. Insulin resistance increases along with the amount of fat a person carries, but losing 10 to 15 pounds can make a significant difference.

Where you carry fat also comes into play. People 2ho carry their fat stores mostly in their belly area are at an increased risk. Abdominal or visceral fat secretes proteins that cause inflammation and compromise insulin sensitivity.

Photo: AdobeStock/Saltodemata
Photo: AdobeStock/Saltodemata

“NEXT” for more risk factors

Article continues below

Our Featured Programs

See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!

Support Research

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