Say "I Don't" to Diabetes Risk

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Here's a marriage alert you won't hear on your wedding day: If your beloved has (or develops) type 2 diabetes, your own risk is more than doubled.

When physicians at the Royal London Hospital checked diabetes warning signals (weight, blood pressure, exercise levels, food choices, and smoking habits) in 278 couples, they found that if one spouse already had diabetes, their partner usually had significantly more of these potent risk factors. And while diabetes isn't contagious, sharing a "diabetes lifestyle" is. In other words, if your guy's favorite Thursday night routine includes the couch, a bag of sour cream-and-onion chips, and a Survivor rerun, chances are yours will too. Reverse your risk by sharing these proven diabetes-fighting strategies:

Make a breakfast date The next time you're smearing peanut butter on whole wheat toast, make another piece for your mate. Regular breakfast eaters are less likely to develop insulin resistance syndrome, a common precursor to diabetes.

Go out walking A little bit of exercise (a 30-minute walk 3 to 7 days a week) boosts insulin sensitivity, a new University of Florida study has found. Why not make a standing date to walk together several nights a week? Aim for a brisk, 30-minute stroll, ideally five times a week.

Roll the dice Turn off the TV tonight, and challenge your partner to a game of Yahtzee, Monopoly, or Scrabble. For every 2 hours spent in front of the tube, your diabetes risk increases 14%, researchers reported in April. One reason: We eat more food and burn fewer calories in front of the TV than we do while enjoying quiet pleasures such as reading, writing, and playing board games.

Make an appointment If your loved one has diabetes, consider getting yourself screened.

PHOTO (COLOR): Breakfast for two: a healthy date

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By Julie A. Evans

Edited by Sarí Harrar

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