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WEDNESDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- A high body mass index (BMI) and, to some extent, specific lifestyle factors may explain a substantial part of the association between family history of diabetes and type 2 diabetes risk, according to research published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.
To determine how much of the association between a family history of diabetes and risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be explained by excess adiposity and lifestyle risk factors, Esther Van't Riet, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, analyzed 5,101 cases of type 2 diabetes in 20 years of follow-up from participants in the Nurses' Health Study cohort.
The researchers found that, compared to those with no family history, the age-adjusted relative risk of type 2 diabetes in those with a family history was 2.27. Subjects with a family history also had a higher BMI and were more likely to have obese parents. The researchers determined that BMI explained 21.1 percent of the link between type 2 diabetes risk and family history. Lifestyle factors that explained part of the risk included intake of alcohol, red meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
"A substantial part of the association between having a family history of diabetes and 20-year incidence of type 2 diabetes could be explained by excess adiposity, whereas dietary factors might also play a role. Further studies on this topic with more detailed measures of family history of diabetes, adiposity, and lifestyle factors are warranted," the authors write.
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