Fitness Trends Predictive of Diabetes Development

Increasing fitness over long term linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- People who increase their cardiorespiratory fitness level over time are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who lose fitness, according to research published in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

Over seven years (1979 to 1985), Susumu S. Sawada, Ph.D., of the Tokyo Gas Health Promotion Center, and colleagues studied the fitness trends of 4,187 Japanese males without diabetes. The men completed annual check-ups and at least four tests of their maximal oxygen uptake(VO2max).

During the 1985 to 1999 follow-up period, 274 men developed diabetes. The researchers found that men in the lowest quartile lost fitness, decreasing their average VO2max from 45.3 to 36.6 ml/kg/min, while men in the highest quartile gained fitness, increasing VO2max from 36.3 to 45.6 ml/kg/min. Compared with men in the lowest quartile of fitness, those in the highest quartile had about a 70 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"This cohort study showed a strong inverse relationship between long-term trends in fitness and the development of type 2 diabetes in Japanese men. This relationship was independent of age, initial fitness level, BMI, systolic blood pressure, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, and a family history of diabetes. Thus, regular physical activity should be promoted by health professionals, because it decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes, in addition to decreasing the risks of many chronic diseases," the authors write.

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