Engaging Women in the Fight Against Diabetes

Economics and Diabetes; we know that other factors impact the risk of diabetes and GDM in women. Some of these factors include socioeconomic status and the environment. One in three women in the United States, especially single moms, are living in poverty or are right at the brink of it.

An estimated 1.3 million women of reproductive age have diabetes; about 500,000 of them do not know they have the disease. Type 2 diabetes accounts for most diabetes cases during this life stage.

Women of minority racial and ethnic groups are two to four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have type 2 diabetes. Reproductive-aged women with type 2 diabetes have fewer years of education, have lower income, and are less likely to be employed than women without diabetes.

Can we help stop diabetes before the risk is passed on to future generations?

As women consider the responsibility of bringing a new life into being, they often have a heightened sense of determination to take better care of themselves for the health of their baby.  Let’s tap into that motivation and find opportunities early on to promote healthy lifestyle before conception and throughout their lifetime.

Women have the potential to improve the Health Legacy passed on to future generations by being in their best health before, during and after pregnancy.

Health Care Professionals need to send a clear and encouraging message to girls and women that their health matters and that they are important coupled with resources and referrals to help women improve their health status.

Key Messages during different phases of life.

Message to girls and adolescents: Start building healthy habits today.

  • Be active everyday. Limit screen time to 2 hours a day, engage in moderate intensity exercise daily.
  • Eat healthy. Limit sweet drinks like soda and fruit juices and limit processed foods. See Joy of Six Sugar Pledge Resource Page
  • Talk to girls about expected body changes over time. Encourage eating nutritionally balanced meals and snacks. Refer to dietitians and community programs.

Message to Women of Childbearing Age –  Get active and eat a healthy diet to nourish your body

Message to Women During Pregnancy – Keep active and eat mindfully.

Less than 30% of women gain the recommended weight during pregnancy. Gaining excessive weight increases risk of GDM by 50% along with having a large baby. Encourage eating a healthy, and balanced approach to meal planning.

  • Try not to exceed recommended weight gain, keep active, and keep connected to health care team for recommended tests and checkups.
  • Refer to community programs and registered dietitians to help women meet lifestyle goals.

Message to Women After pregnancy – There is so much you can do to improve the Health Legacy of you and your child.

  • Keep active, eat healthfully, get glucose tested 6-12 weeks after delivery. 

Breastfeeding has amazing benefits:

Health Legacy and Message of Hope: Celebrating and empowering women through improving access to care, education and targeted health messaging promises to improve the health of this generation and generations to come. 

For more info, listen to our OnDemand Women and Diabetes Webinar. Learn and Earn CEs from your computer.

Learn more with our May Diabetes Ed Newsletter!