While age and genetics certainly play a role in your chances of developing diabetes, your lifestyle choices play a crucial role too – and they’re easier to change.

You may be surprised how much your daily habits can increase your risk of diabetes.

To help you stay healthy, Shane Joy, PA, a primary care provider with Hartford HealthCare Medical Group, shares five common habits that may lead to diabetes and offers tips to break them.

Find a doctor near me

Start here

1. Sitting too much

Research has linked sitting down for long periods with several health concerns – including diabetes.

“Increasing exercise is one of the core goals for diabetes prevention and treatment,” says Joy, “Getting up and walking throughout the day can help you achieve a more active lifestyle and break the chain of living a sedentary life.”

Even small increases in physical activity have a huge impact. If you find yourself sitting too much, Joy suggests setting daily reminders on your phone or calendar to get up, stretch and get your blood pumping.

2. Indulging in the midnight munchies

A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism examined two groups – one eating dinner late and another eating four hours earlier.

They found instances of high blood sugar levels and weight gain in those eating later.

“If you create habits such as eating dinner late or indulging in midnight munchies, you induce glucose intolerance and increase your risk of developing diabetes over time,” advises Joy.

Am I eligible for weight loss surgery?

Start hereCall 855.792.6258

3. Winging it at the grocery store

We’ve all been to the grocery store without a list. And it’s never an ideal situation.

“When we are crunched for time and have no other choice but to wing it at the grocery store, we are not giving ourselves enough time to make healthy, premeditated choices,” Joy says.

Meal planning is one of the best ways to improve your health. Before shopping, plan the meals you will cook during the week. Joy suggests choosing healthy – and delicious – recipes.

“Your body will thank you, as a healthy diet is another cornerstone to diabetes prevention and treatment,” says Joy.

4. Skipping the fresh produce

If you avoid fresh produce and opt for frozen or canned instead, you’re choosing processed foods that are loaded with sugar, salt and fat.

“People who compromise by eating frozen or canned vegetables and fruits are putting themselves at risk for future diabetes and hypertension,” says Joy.

Joy suggests making it a goal to stop by the produce section every time you shop. There’s a reason why it’s always at a store’s front entrance.

> Want more health news? Text StartHere to 85209 to sign up for text alerts

5. Eating too many starchy carbs

“Foods high in starch raise your blood glucose levels. If you eat too much, you’re putting your body on a collision course that leads to insulin resistance and, eventually, diabetes,” says Joy.

While starchy carbs are okay in moderation, don’t let them be your go-to. Starchy foods to avoid include:

  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Corn

If you find yourself craving starchy carbohydrates, Joy suggests incorporating some cheat meals and snacks into your diet. But don’t let it become a habit!