Health

Diabetes Prevention Might Not Involve What’s on Your Plate

Study shows physical activity is key to preventing adult onset form of disease — even a walk or jog helps

New research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine is great news for the 79 million Americans the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says are at risk for developing diabetes.

Scientists have identified a simple, effective and free way to reduce the risk of the devastating condition — and it doesn’t involve diet.

Get out and have some fun! Specifically, spend some more time engaging in what the researchers call leisure-time physical activity, or LTPA.

LTPA includes walking, jogging, running, and other forms of physical exercise and movement.

Even better, the protective benefits of LTPA are not limited to high-intensity exercise. Low-intensity exercise offers a measure of protection as well. That means that older people, obese people, and others who find high-intensity exercise difficult or unpleasant or painful can also enjoy protective benefits, Science Daily reported.

“Our findings emphasize the urgent need to promote physical activity as a strategy for diabetes prevention,” said professor Neil Thomas from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, as quoted in Science Daily.

The CDC says that diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans, 7 million of them undiagnosed. A whopping 79 million adults are considered prediabetic — and are at risk for developing the adult-onset form of the condition.

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Complications of diabetes can be disabling and even life-threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cardiovascular disease; nerve, kidney, eye (e.g., blindness), and foot (e.g., amputation) damage; and Alzheimer’s disease are all associated with diabetes. The physical consequences of poorly managed, adult-onset diabetes are profound and sometimes lethal.

A whopping 79 million adults are considered  prediabetic — and are at risk for developing the adult-onset form of the condition.

Over a period of 18 years, Chinese researchers led by experts from the University of Birmingham studied 44,828 adults identified as at risk for developing diabetes. Of the participants who eventually developed diabetes during the study period, researchers estimate that 20 percent — one in five — would not have developed the condition if they had adhered to exercise guidelines established by the World Health Organization.

Savvy Americans who want to reduce their risk of developing diabetes would be well-served to take this research to heart — and to the sidewalk, the gym, local parks, and other locales where preventing this disease may be a simple matter of incorporating more physical activities into your family’s schedule.

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.

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