Eating healthy foods and getting plenty of exercise can prevent most cases of type 2 diabetes in women over the age of 50, regardless of their ethnicity or race.
In fact, keeping a body mass index of less than 25 can help reduce the risk of diabetes, according to a new study published in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School followed more than 150,000 postmenopausal women for 10 years or more for the study, according to a news release from the school. They found that black women were two to three times as likely as white women to develop diabetes. Hispanic and Asian women faced twice the risk as whites.
But those differences were mostly related to what the women ate, how much exercise they performed and whether they smoked, the news release states.
“Our work shows that among numerous race/ethnicities, the women with both high body mass index and low levels of physical activity are far more likely to develop diabetes,” said lead researcher Yunsheng Ma. “A healthier diet and adequate levels of physical activity could significantly lower that risk for most women.”
Co-researcher Judith Ockene noted in the news release that the data provide insight into the risk of developing diabetes.
“Although genetics does matter in terms of pre-disposing individuals to diabetes, the primary differences are explained by lifestyle factors, particularly obesity and physical activity,” Ockene said. “It shows prevention and behavior matter.”
Source: University of Massachusetts Medical School news release
+ Learn about Diabetes Care Plans
+ Read More about Diabetes Diagnostic Tests