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Diabetes Prevention: Every Little Bit Helps

admin - September 8, 2011

According to a September 5 article, a research investigation done by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, resulted in finding a commonality between preventing diabetes from developing in middle-aged adults and maintaining certain health traits, even if diabetes runs in the family.

The researchers used data from a long-running National Cancer Institute study, which began following 200,000 healthy men and women, ages 50 to 71 in the 1990s. These participants had filled out questionnaires at the start of the study about their health attributes, such as diet, lifestyle, medical history, physical characteristics and demographic profile.

By the end of a 10-year period, 9% of the men and women in the study had developed type 2 diabetes. Those who did not shared the following health traits:

prevent diabetes by exercising

  • A normal weight with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25
  • Non-smoker or smoke free for at least 10 years
  • Exercised 3x per week for 20 minutes each time (Note: This means physical activity that increases heart rate and makes you sweat) 
  • Ate a diet high in fiber with a high ratio of good (polyunsaturated) to bad (saturated) fats and low amounts of refined or sugary carbohydrates and trans fat
  • Limited to no alcohol consumption equaling 2 drinks or less for men and 1 drink or less for women

Nevertheless, you are not doomed if you haven’t maintained all 5 of these health attributes. Because while those participants who did maintain all 5 had about an 80% lower risk for diabetes, the research also determined that each additional attribute was associated, on average, with a 31% less risk for diabetes in men and 39% less risk in women.

“The question we were trying to raise is whether there are added benefits to each individual lifestyle improvement you make, and it looks like that answer is definitely yes,” the article quotes Jared Reis, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and an epidemiologist with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “The strength of the association was really very dramatic and quite surprising.”

This research information is encouraging because even if, for example, you have always struggled with weight, you can still do the other things to help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and it’s worth it to do so. In other words, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Every little bit helps.

Please retweet and/or like on Facebook to share this news!

Additional information:

This study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Read the article in detail at


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