In a new study, researchers found people with the healthiest lifestyle have a 75% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those with the least healthy lifestyle.
In addition, in those people with type 2 diabetes, a healthy lifestyle is also linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a lower risk of death from all causes, including CVD and cancer.
The research was conducted by a team from Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
The number of people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) globally has now been estimated at higher than half a billion, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease Study.
There are 22 million new cases documented each year.
Previous studies have shown that healthy lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, diet, and weight management, are useful interventions in the prevention and management of T2D.
This new research review aimed to evaluate the impact of combined healthy lifestyle factors; firstly on the incidence of diabetes and secondly on morbidity and mortality outcomes in persons with the condition.
The team looked for studies to include in their analysis that had a combination of at least three factors to indicate overall lifestyle, including smoking, drinking alcohol, physical activity/ sedentary behavior, diet, being overweight or obese, and sleep duration/ quality.
The review included 14 studies with 1,116,248 participants.
A further 10 studies were used in the meta-analysis of people who already had T2D, with 34,385 diabetic participants from researches based in USA, Asia, and Europe, and one global study across several continents.
The team found a combination of healthy lifestyle factors was found to be linked to a 75% lower risk of T2D, compared with individuals with the least healthy lifestyle.
The factors included body weight, physical activity, diet quality and sleep pattern.
This study also considered the potential benefits of a healthy lifestyle on the management of T2D—an important clinical issue.
Compared with diabetic patients with the least healthy lifestyle, those with the healthiest lifestyle displayed a 56% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 49% lower risk of CVD mortality and a 31% lower risk of cancer mortality, as well as a 52% lower risk of developing CVD.
The team says at the individual level, they encourage people to adopt healthy living habits for example as regards diet, activity, smoking, and drinking.
At the population level, governments should facilitate the changes needed to make healthy lifestyle choices accessible, affordable and sustainable.
The study is published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes).
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