Physical activity fights off diabetes risk, study finds

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Diabetes is a medical condition where a person’s body doesn’t properly process food for use as energy.

The most common type of this disease is type 2 diabetes.

Globally, a lot of people are living with diabetes, including about 1.2 million Australians recorded in 2020.

The Study on Physical Activity and Diabetes

Scientists at the University of Sydney did a study to see if being active could affect the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

They looked at data from 59,325 adults in the UK who wore activity trackers on their wrists for up to seven years.

This study used information from a big database called the UK Biobank. The Biobank has a lot of anonymous genetic, lifestyle, and health information from half a million people in the UK.

What They Found

Scientists found that being physically active was strongly linked with a lower chance of getting type 2 diabetes.

This was especially true for moderate to vigorous activities—things that get you sweating and slightly out of breath, like brisk walking or gardening, or more intense activities that make you really out of breath, like running, dancing, or cycling uphill.

Interestingly, the study found that even people with a high genetic risk of developing type 2 diabetes could lower their risk if they were physically active.

In fact, very active people with a high genetic risk actually had a lower risk of getting diabetes than less active people with a low genetic risk.

What Does This Mean for Us?

This study shows that being active can be a big help in preventing type 2 diabetes, even for people who might be more likely to get it because of their genes.

Associate Professor Melody Ding, one of the main authors of the study, said, “We are unable to control our genetic risk and family history, but this finding provides promising and positive news that through an active lifestyle, one can ‘fight off’ much of the excessive risk for type 2 diabetes.”

She also mentioned that she hopes the study can be used to make public health and clinical guidelines better and help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes.

So, keep moving and stay active—it could really make a difference in your health!

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about the real cause of inflammation in type 2 diabetes, and two common diabetes drugs outperform others in a large study.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about green tea and coffee linked to lower death risk in people with diabetes, and results showing cruciferous vegetables may help reverse kidney damage in diabetes.

The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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