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Why should you know your risk of developing diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes does not occur suddenly, but develops over years – often without being noticed.

Those at increased risk can often prevent the onset of the disease or at least delay it.

Find out about your personal risk of developing type 2 diabetes and what you can do yourself by taking the German Diabetes Risk Score which was developed by the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung, DIfE) and the German Center for Diabetes Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung, DZD).

Another testing tool to determine the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is the FINDRISC test which was developed in Finland and is available in 9 languages.


An unhealthy diet is one of the most important risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Foods with particularly high energy and lots of unhealthy fats and free sugars (for example, soft drinks, convenience foods, fatty and sweet bakery products or sausages) may lead to overweight and obesity.

Nutrient-rich foods with lots of fibers, such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grain products form the basis for a healthy diet. In smaller quantities, vegetable oils, low-fat dairy and meat products, and fish are also part of a wholefood diet.

Lack of exercise reduces the sensitivity of the body cells to insulin, resulting in less sugar being absorbed into the cells from the blood. This increases blood sugar levels as well as the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to current recommendations, adults should exercise at least 150 to 300 minutes per week at moderate intensity, such as walking, or at least 75 to 150 minutes per week at higher intensity, such as cycling, jogging, or swimming. In addition, strength exercises should be performed at least 2 or more days per week.

Exercising not only reduces the risk of developing diabetes, but also has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, bone health and well-being.

Smoking is one of the lesser known – but influential – risk factors that can promote the development of type 2 diabetes. Several large studies have shown that people who smoke are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than others. The exact reason for this is not yet fully understood.

Blood sugar levels are often elevated in people who smoke. A constantly increased blood sugar level promotes the development of type 2 diabetes in the long term. In addition, insulin secretion appears to be altered in smokers. Another possible reason why smoking increases the risk of diabetes is an unhealthy distribution of body fat. Fat deposited inside and around organs is particularly unhealthy.

If biological relatives have or had type 2 diabetes, the risk is increased. This is probably based on an interaction of genetic factors and family lifestyle.

The risk of developing diabetes increases with age.

People with elevated blood pressure may be at increased risk of developing diabetes.

If a lot of fat is stored in the abdominal area (waist), the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases. Studies have shown that weight loss can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.