Nutrition for Women in the Prevention and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Awareness of women's risks for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases must be promoted by health care professionals. For overweight and obese women, weight reduction is critical for reducing risks; prevention of excess weight gain must be encouraged for women of healthy body weight. Vulnerable times for weight gain during a woman's life cycle include early adulthood, the childbearing years, and menopause. Thus, healthy diet and exercise behaviors must be particularly emphasized during these years. Polycystic ovary syndrome is also associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease risk, and weight loss can lower these risks. Foods comprising diets associated with reduced cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risks tend to be unrefined plant foods (vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds), low-fat dairy products, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and lean sources of protein. Artificial trans fatty acids should be avoided and saturated fats cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars minimized. A balance of micro-nutrients and fiber should be obtained from wholesome food sources rather than supplements. Dietary counseling for women should consider the context in which they live, cultural aspects, socioeconomic factors, menstrual cycle influences on food intake, and warning signs for eating disorders. Continued gender-specific research will be helpful in discerning the most effective lifestyle interventions for women. © 2008, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine