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Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

Your chances of developing type 2 diabetes depend on a combination of risk factors such as your genes and lifestyle. Although you can’t change risk factors such as family history, age, or ethnicity, you can change lifestyle risk factors around eating, physical activity, and weight. These lifestyle changes can affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Read about risk factors for type 2 diabetes below and see which ones apply to you. Taking action on the factors you can change can help you delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you:

are overweight or obese
are age 45 or older
have a family history of diabetes
are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
have high blood pressure
have a low level of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, or a high level of triglycerides
have a history of gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
are not physically active
have a history of heart disease or stroke
have depression
have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS
have acanthosis nigricans—dark, thick, and velvety skin around your neck or armpits

You can also take the Diabetes Risk Test to learn about your risk for type 2 diabetes.

To see if your weight puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes, find your height in the Body Mass Index (BMI) charts below. If your weight is equal to or more than the weight listed, you have a greater chance of developing the disease.

If you are not Asian American or Pacific IslanderIf you are Asian AmericanIf you are Pacific Islander
 At-risk BMI ≥ 25 At-risk BMI ≥ 23 At-risk BMI ≥ 26
 4’10”119 4’10”110 4’10”124
 4’11”124 4’11”114 4’11”128
 5’0″128 5’0″118 5’0″133
 5’1″132 5’1″122 5’1″137
 5’2″136 5’2″126 5’2″142
 5’3″141 5’3″130 5’3″146
 5’4″145 5’4″134 5’4″151
 5’5″ 150 5’5″138 5’5″156
 5’6″155 5’6″142 5’6″161
 5’7″159 5’7″146 5’7″166
 5’8″164 5’8″151 5’8″171
 5’9″ 169 5’9″155 5’9″176
 5’10” 174 5’10”160 5’10”181
 5’11” 179 5’11”165 5’11”186
 6’0″ 184 6’0″169 6’0″191
 6’1″ 189 6’1″174 6’1″197
 6’2″ 194 6’2″179 6’2″202
 6’3″ 200 6’3″184 6’3″208
 6’4″ 205 6’4″1896’4″213

What can I do to prevent type 2 diabetes?

You can take steps to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing weight if you are overweight, eating fewer calories, and being more physically active. Talk with your health care professional about any of the health conditions listed above that may require medical treatment. Managing these health problems may help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, ask your health care professional about any medicines you take that might increase your risk.

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.