Type 2 diabetes is usually caused by a combination of many risk factors. For example:

  • Biological sex : males are more at risk;
  • Age: 40 years of age and older;
  • First-degree relative with type 2 diabetes: parent, sibling or child;
  • Ethnic group : African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous or South Asian descent;
  • Overweight;
  • Abdominal fat;
  • Lack of physical activity;
  • Eating habits: not eating fruits and vegetables everyday;
  • Smoking tobacco;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Presence of associated diseases : pancreatitis, HIV infection, psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder), polycystic ovary syndrome, gout (hyperuricemia);
  • Use of drugs associated with diabetes: glucocorticoids (cortison), anti-rejection drugs, atypical antipscyhotics, statins;
  • History of high blood sugar;
  • History of giving birth to a baby weighing more than 4,1 kg (9 pounds);
  • History of gestational diabetes;
  • Low socioeconomic status.

Some risk factors can’t be changed or influenced.

However, you can reduce the impact of certain risk factors by changing your lifestyle, such as eating habits, levels of physical activity and tobacco use.

Helpful resources


Research and writing: Diabetes Québec’s team of health professionals

July 2023