4 Risk Factors for Diabetes

Diabetes (type 2) is a disorder where the body has high levels of blood glucose (sugar) and thus cannot properly turn meals consumed into energy for the body. There are many different risk factors for this disease, including lifestyle choices and genetic factors.


Excess weight strongly raises the risk for type 2 diabetes, notes MedlinePlus. Extra fat on the body stresses the organs. The pancreas will eventually be unable to create proper levels of insulin to help cells get energy when obesity occurs. The amount of diabetes among American adults is increasing due to obesity, notes Obesity.org. A healthy diet will help cut the risk of type 2 diabetes. A focus on foods that are natural and do not contain high levels of fat, sugar or salt will help diabetics begin to improve weight levels.

Family History

A family history of diabetes is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. If a parents and siblings have diabetes, the risk factor for other siblings is higher than average. Also families that fall into certain ethnic groups experience higher levels of diabetes. Having an ethnic background of Alaska Native, African American, Asian American, American Indian or Pacific Islander increases the risk for diabetes.


Age is also a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. An age over 60 indicates a higher risk for this disorder. Diabetics will have a lower life expectancy by about 10 to 15 years, notes InfoAging.org. This occurs because having diabetes damages the health and also greatly increases the risk for other diseases such as heart disease. This risk factor is often preventable if exercise continues and meals are not overly indulgent.

Lack of Exercise

Lack of exercise is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle dramatically increases the risk for developing this disorder. Exercise helps build stronger overall health. It also helps keep blood sugar levels lower by using energy. The Centers for Disease Control notes that physical activity of about 30 minutes five times a week is helpful to the health of diabetics. Helpful activities include walking, dancing, going for a swim, riding a bike, gardening, hiking and taking an exercise class.

About this Author

Julia Bodeeb worked on staff in medical book/journal publishing for over a decade as a reporter, managing editor, and book acquisitions. She is now a writer at Bright Hub, Associated Content, and Seed. Ms. Bodeeb has a B.A. in English and postgraduate credits in psychology and law. She won a Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award in 2008.