Lifestyle Factors, Linked To Diabetes

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A group of researchers from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland found out that weight, diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol intake independently influences the risk of developing diabetes. Furthermore, this study showed that regardless of the genetic predisposition and familial risk of diabetes, people can curb their way to a diabetes free life through practicing healthy lifestyle. Practicing each lifestyle improvement further increases their protection from this chronic condition.

“There are implications certainly for individuals to take one step at a time toward a healthy lifestyle,” said Jared Reis, one of the study’s authors. He also told the Reuters Health that, “there is certainly benefit for those who may have a tough time with losing weight if they adopt these other healthy lifestyle factors.”

The study was a result of about 200,000 Americans aged in their fifties or sixties. They filled out surveys about their lifestyle, diet and health status last 1995 ad 1996. All of them had no diabetes a the time they filled out the questionnaires. After a span of then years, they were sent with another questionnaire asking if they have been diagnosed with diabetes. Generally, one out of every ten men, and one out of every thirteen women were diagnosed with Diabetes.

They cross examined the results of the second survey against the tally of the original survey way back 1995-1996. The researchers clustered the questions into five categories: BMI (body-mass index), diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol intake.

They found out that INDIVIDUALLY, exercising for at least 20 minutes daily thrice a week, or not smoking, or quitting alcohol, lowered the risk of getting diagnosed with diabetes. This means that people who eat a healthy diet, regardless of their being an alcoholic, smoker, or sedentary lifestyle, are still at lower risk of developing diabetes. This is also the same with other independent lifestyle factors. Similarly, this is also true for people who have a long list of diabetic family members and relatives.

For normal weight and healthy women who eat healthy diet, exercised regularly, drank occasionally and didn’t smoke, are 84% less likely get diabetes, compared to any woman who are overweight and do not practice ANY of the above mentioned lifestyle improvements. As for men, having the same lifestyle practices make them 72% less likely to have diabetes.

Dr. Lawrence Phillips, an endocrinologist at the Emory University in Atlanta shared that considering all these factors, it is important to underscore the top-of-the-list tip in preventing diabetes, that is through preventing being overweight. The authors of the study also disclaimed that the second survey they conducted was not able to measure as to whether or not the respondents changed their lifestyle during the interim, and that, for them, is not impossible.

According to Reis, one of the most important thing that this study has proven is that genetic predisposition can be curbed with the use of healthy practices and lifestyle changes. He also said that it is a good news even for the older people since it shows that it’s never too late to change our lifestyle habits.

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