Combined Lifestyle Factors Cut Risk of Diabetes

Combined effects of five factors associated with reduced risk of new-onset diabetes in older adults

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of lifestyle factors is associated with lower risk of new-onset diabetes in older adults, according to a study published in the Sept. 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Jared P. Reis, Ph.D., from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues investigated how combinations of lifestyle factors were associated with the 11-year risk for incident diabetes in a cohort of 114,996 men and 92,483 women aged 50 to 71 years who had no evidence of heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, and participated in a survey in 1995 to 1996. The lifestyle factors and demographic characteristics that were assessed at baseline included dietary intake, body weight and height, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Low-risk groups were formed by dichotomizing each lifestyle factor, and a follow-up survey from 2004 to 2006 identified incident diabetes.

The investigators found that 9.6 percent of the men and 7.5 percent of the women developed diabetes. The likelihood of diabetes in men was 31 percent lower (odds ratio [OR], 0.69) and 39 percent lower (OR, 0.61) in women for each additional lifestyle factor in the low-risk group. The OR for diabetes in men and women whose diet score, physical activity level, smoking status, and alcohol use were all in the low-risk group was 0.61 and 0.43, respectively. The OR was 0.28 for men and 0.16 for women when absence of overweight or obesity was added. Family history of diabetes and adiposity levels did not affect the results.

"Lifestyle factors, when considered in combination, are associated with a substantial reduction in risk for diabetes," the authors write.

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