Helping the Shopper with Prediabetes
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
If you are talking to customers on a daily basis, you are talking to people with prediabetes. It’s just that common states Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, a Nutrition, Culinary & Diabetes Expert. About 1/3 of adults in the US has prediabetes, approximately 84 million people. However, only 12% have been diagnosed. Prediabetes is a sign that a problem has been going on for some time and it is much easier to stall or reverse prediabetes than to reverse type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes are the key. Without them, 37% of individuals with prediabetes are likely to progress to type 2 diabetes within 4 years and most will have the diagnosis within 10 years. Supermarket RDNs can help promote positive lifestyle habits for individuals living with prediabetes. Below are some of Jill’s recommendations:
- Provide screenings through pharmacy departments and offer this American Diabetes Association (ADA) 60-second quiz to assess risk. Make referrals for follow up education as needed.
- Engage individuals with prediabetes into your weight management programs. Even a small weight reduction can have a significant difference.
- Encourage individuals to be active each day and provide realistic exercise suggestions (such as walking after mealtime). Every activity session boosts insulin sensitivity for 2 to 72 hours. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) aims for 150 minutes of activity per week.
- Stress the importance of strength training. Added muscle allows more glucose uptake.
- Find ways to reduce sedentary behavior. The ADA recommends breaking up extended periods of sitting with 3-minute activity breaks every 30 minutes such as standing up every time you drink from your water bottle or doing wall pushups during TV commercials.
- Diets rich in nuts, berries, yogurt, coffee and tea are associated with less risk of type 2 diabetes. Oats, barley and legumes are also important foods. Provide a shopping list with simple recipes to educate shoppers with prediabetes on how to prepare and enjoy these foods. Distribute instore, online and through your pharmacies.
- Offer a cooking class and emphasize the right foods and consistent meal times, along with ways to season with herbs and spices. Jill also recommends talking about how to cook meats with acids or moisture to reduce the formation of advanced glycation end products, which affects insulin sensitivity.
- Partner with local hospitals and clinical dietitians on shopping tours and classes to manage prediabetes.
- Promote adequate sleep. Not only does sleep deprivation distract from healthy living, it actually hurts insulin sensitivity.
- Offer resources. Jill admits that behavior change is really hard, especially when it comes to lifestyle habits and weight loss. That’s why she wrote Prediabetes: A Complete Guide: Your Lifestyle Reset to Stop Prediabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses. The book helps people assess where they are and where they want to be while formulating a productive mindset and realistic plan. There are recipe tweaks, grocery shopping tips, exercise guidelines, menu ideas, goal tracking sheets, worksheets to set goals and plan around obstacles. There are even trackers for sedentary behavior and daily victories. Find Jill’s book on Amazon here.