Five Lifestyle Behaviors Cut Diabetes Risk

Woman running on soft surfaceNew research shows that a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes can be dramatically cut by combining five important lifestyle factors.

To get the best benefit, people should follow a healthy diet, stay at an optimal body weight, exercise regularly, abstain from smoking and limit how much alcohol they drink every day, according to a news release from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. For women, federal health officials say it’s one drink per day; men can tolerate two drinks.

When all five of these lifestyle recommendations are followed, a person cuts their risk of type 2 diabetes up to 80 percent.

The research team, led by epidemiologist Jared P. Reis for the NHLBI, found that for each of these lifestyle factors that people follow, they lower their diabetes risk by about 31 percent for men and 39 percent for women, according to the news release. The maximum benefit is the 80 percent reduction.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 200,000 adults. Participants were followed for 11 years to see if they developed diabetes. The study was published in the September 6 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study suggests that being overweight or obese makes the biggest impact on whether someone develops diabetes. However, people struggling with weight loss may still be able to cut their risk by changing their lifestyle behaviors.

And genetics may not automatically predetermine whether a person develops diabetes.

“The study also found that while family history of diabetes is strongly linked to the disease, people may be able to largely prevent or delay diabetes by leading a healthy lifestyle,” according to the news release.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

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