Diabetes Forecast

How Quickly Does Type 2 Develop?

I have prediabetes. How does that affect my chances of developing type 2 diabetes? I’ve heard that if you do nothing to change your diet and exercise regimens, you will develop type 2 in 10 years. True? Name Withheld

Belinda Childs, APRN, MN, BC-ADM, CDE, responds:

Research studies have indicated that if a person does not make any lifestyle changes after being diagnosed with prediabetes, then he or she has approximately a 50 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.

What to Know

The good news is that about 50 percent will not develop diabetes within the first 10 years after a prediabetes diagnosis. More important, though, we know that you can reduce your risk of moving to “full-blown” type 2 diabetes if you make some changes in your lifestyle and your weight if you are above your ideal body weight. Losing 7 to 10 percent of your body weight and getting 30 minutes of physical activity a day will help you delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your weight-loss goal over time would be 14 to 20 pounds. Many people can make a good start by cutting “wasted” calories in beverages including juices, sugary sodas, and flavored coffees. Even if you already have an active lifestyle, making sure that you are getting 150 minutes of physical activity per week will help reduce your risk.

Possible Solutions

If you have not met with a registered dietitian, it may be helpful to see an RD to review your current eating plan. You may also want to find out if there is a Lifestyle Balance Program near you. This program has been developed as a result of the findings of the Diabetes Prevention Program study. Many YMCAs across the country are offering the 16-session program on getting active and eating healthfully. Ongoing support from a trainer or group program has been found to be very helpful in making and maintaining lifestyle changes.


With the diagnosis of prediabetes, you have a prime opportunity to make lifestyle changes that can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. You can take charge now and make lifelong changes to improve your health.



Take the Type 2
Diabetes Risk Test