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Exercise and Diabetes Risk: Just Do It Already


Experts estimated that there will be nearly 600 million cases of Type 2 Diabetes worldwide in the year 2035. Start now taking steps to reduce your risk (pun intended).


We all know that exercise is good for us. We all know that we need to do more of it. But what will it take to really develop that daily habit? Would it help to know that even just a little bit of increase in physical activity could decrease your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by up to 26%?

When we say “a little,” here’s what we really mean – 30 minutes each day for at least five days out of seven. Thirty minutes is just 2% of your ENTIRE DAY.

Do you want to decrease your risk even further? Step it up a bit and strive for an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise and you will reduce your risk by 40%.

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These statistics are based on a new study published in the journal Diabetologia. It is the most comprehensive study on the subject and includes data from over a million people across four continents.

"Our results suggest a major potential for physical activity to slow down or reverse the global increase in type 2 diabetes and should prove useful for health impact modelling, which frequently forms part of the evidence base for policy decisions.," said Andrea Smith (UCL Health Behaviour Research Centre and Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge), who led the study.

If you have any of the following risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes, you should (as soon as possible) develop a plan for incorporating more exercise into your day:

Being Overweight – the more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin
Family History – Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has Type 2 Diabetes
Age – Your risk increases as you get older.
Have High Blood Pressure and/or Abnormal Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels. Remember also that diabetics have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease as well.

Journal Reference:
Andrea D. Smith, Alessio Crippa, James Woodcock, Søren Brage. Physical activity and incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Diabetologia, 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s00125-016-4079-0
Photo Credit: By BrokenSphere (Own Work) via Wikimedia Commons