People with the healthiest lifestyle have a 75% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those with the least healthy lifestyle; according to a new study in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes). Amongst those individuals with type 2 diabetes, a healthy lifestyle is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a lower risk of death from all causes, including CVD and cancer.
The number of people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) globally has now estimate at higher than half a billion; according to the latest Global Burden of Disease Study. There are 22 million new cases document each year. Previous studies have show that healthy lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, diet and weight management; are useful interventions in the prevention and management of T2D.
Developing type 2 diabetes
Follow up of at least a year was require for study eligibility. Baseline characteristics of the participants were extract to adjust the data age, gender, race and ethnicity, education level, health status. Fourteen studies were identify for the main analysis; so with 1,116,248 participants; also researches base in the USA, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Mean baseline age range from 38 to 73 years; mean follow up was 2.7 to 20.8 years.
A further 10 studies were use in the meta-analysis of people who already had T2D; with 34,385 diabetic participants from researches base in USA, Asia, and Europe, and one global study across several continents. The mean age at baseline range from 46 and 69 years; with a mean follow up duration of 4 to 21 years. A combination of healthy lifestyle factors was found to be associate with a 75% lower risk of T2D; compare with individuals with the least healthy lifestyle.
For each of the 14 studies, healthiest versus unhealthiest lifestyle was assess in a slightly different way, with each study giving a slightly different result. However, by weighting each study base on number of participants; also variation of the effect size, it was possible for the authors to come to the final figure of 75% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes for the healthiest versus the unhealthiest lifestyle.
Associations of healthy lifestyle
The authors note certain limitations to this study; which they suggest might be address by future research. As most studies were conduct in high-income countries and most participants were of white ethnicity; they suggest that evidence from other populations is need. Also, as T2D is now increasingly see in adolescents and young adults; the authors recommend more research on the associations of healthy lifestyle with diabetes and diabetes complications in these age groups.
The reduction of premature mortality from non-communicable diseases; the authors note, is one of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, to be achieve globally by 2030. They say: “As diabetes complications, particularly CVD, are the leading cause of illness and death amongst individuals with type 2 diabetes, prevention of the condition and its long-term adverse outcomes is urgently need to meet this goal.”
They add: “At the individual level, we 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 need to make healthy lifestyle choices accessible, affordable and sustainable.” They conclude: “Give that the proportion of individuals with the healthiest lifestyle was find to be low in most populations, promotion of an overall healthy lifestyle, instead of tackling one particular lifestyle factor; should be a public health priority for all countries”.