Combination of five lifestyle factors linked to lower diabetes risk
Research data shows the importance of five lifestyle factors in reducing risk for type 2 diabetes.
Balintfy: A new analysis of data collected from more than 200,000 adults has found that a combination of five healthy lifestyle factors is associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Reis: The lifestyle factors we were interested in were an optimum body weight, a healthy diet, recommended levels of physical activity, not smoking and modest alcohol consumption.
Balintfy: Dr. Jared Reis is an epidemiologist at the National Institutes of Health.
Reis: Each health lifestyle factor was associated with about a thirty percent lower risk of developing diabetes; and all five healthy lifestyle factors combined was associated with about an 80 percent lower risk.
Balintfy: Dr. Reis adds that the most significant risk factor is weight.
Reis: Not being overweight or obese led to the greatest protection. However we found that overweight or obese adults with a greater number of the other healthy lifestyle factors had a lower risk of developing diabetes. This is good news because it suggests that overweight or obese adults can benefit by adopting other healthy lifestyle behaviors.
Balintfy: 25.8 million Americans have diabetes. Type 2 accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases in adults. Diabetes risks factors include being related to someone who has diabetes. But this study also found that while family history is strongly linked to the disease, people may be able to largely prevent or delay the onset by leading a healthy lifestyle. In other words, Reis says that risk may not be predetermined by genetics. He adds that, similar studies to date have focused on the impact of one risk factor at a time, even though most peopleís lifestyles involve multiple factors.
Reis: I would advise people to work toward achieving and maintaining an optimum body weight, adopting healthy physical activity and dietary goals, not smoking, and if you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.
Balintfy: Age is another major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but Dr. Reis points out:
Reis: Our findings really highlight the fact that itís never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Balintfy: The data for this study were collected as part of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health study. For more information on this recent analysis, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov; for details on the data, visit the website: http://dietandhealth.cancer.gov/; and for more about managing diabetes risk, visit www.YourDiabetesInfo.org. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.