MONDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Living a healthy lifestyle
can cut your risk of diabetes by as much as 80 percent, researchers
from the U.S. National Institutes of Health report.
It has been clear that diet, exercise, smoking and drinking have
an impact on whether one is likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but
how each individual factor affects the risk had been unclear.
"The lifestyle factors we looked at were physical activity, healthy diet, body weight, alcohol consumption and smoking," said lead researcher Jarad Reis, a researcher from the U.S. Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
"For each one of those, there was a significant reduction in risk for developing diabetes," he said. "Having a normal weight by itself reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 60 to 70 percent."
For example, eating a healthy diet reduced the risk by about 15
percent, while not smoking lowered the risk by about 20 percent, he
The more healthy lifestyle factors one has, the lower the risk
for developing diabetes, Reis noted. Overall, risk reduction can
reach 80 percent, he said.
"Our results confirm our public health efforts to get individuals to attain and maintain a healthy diet, physical activity, an optimal body weight, not smoking, and drinking in moderation," he said.
The report is published in the Sept. 6 issue of the
Annals of Internal Medicine.
For the study, Reis' team collected data on 114,996 men and
92,483 women 50 to 71 years of age who took part in the National
Institutes of Health--AARP Diet and Health Study. None of these
individuals had diabetes, cancer or heart disease at the start of
Over 10 years of follow-up, 9.6 percent of the men and 7.5
percent of the women developed diabetes, the researchers found.
However, for each additional healthy lifestyle factor the risk
of developing diabetes was reduced 31 percent for men and 39
percent for women, Reis' group found.
Reis noted that it helps to start living a healthy lifestyle at
any age. Even in middle age, it will reap benefits in lowering your
risk for diabetes, he said. "It's never too late."
Diabetes expert Dr. Spyros G. Mezitis, from New York
Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, said that "we have known
that lifestyle factors affect prevention, development and
management of diabetes."
Mezitis noted that the combination of lifestyle factors can
reduce the risk of developing diabetes. "We need to look at these
factors and how by modifying them you can really reduce the risk of
diabetes," he said.
However, Mezitis thinks changing these behaviors can be hard for
people to do, especially without support from society at large.
"We really need to be thinking of prevention early, and we need the help of government and business and others to achieve these goals," he said.
The American Diabetes Association has more about
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