A study has shown that being active could help to reduce type 2 diabetes risk, even in individuals who have a high genetic risk for the disease.
The research observed that higher total physical activity levels, particularly physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity, were strongly associated with a reduced type 2 diabetes risk.
The study results indicate that higher physical activity levels should be promoted as an important strategy for preventing type 2 diabetes.
The study included 59,325 UK Biobank participants wearing activity trackers on their wrists at the beginning of the study who were then observed for about 7 years to monitor health results.
The UK Biobank is a large-scale database and reference resource that contains anonymized genetic, health, and lifestyle data from 500,000 individuals.
Te data included genetic markers linked to a higher type 2 diabetes risk. Individuals who had a genetic risk score that was high had 2.4 times the risk of type 2 diabetes in comparison to individuals who had a genetic risk score that was low.
The study showed that over an hour of daily physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity was linked to a 74% reduced type 2 diabetes risk in comparison to individuals who performed less than 5 minutes of daily physical activity.
The result stayed the same even after other factors were taken into account, which included genetic risk.
Another compelling result was that individuals who had a high genetic risk in the most physically active group had a reduced type 2 diabetes risk in comparison to individuals with a low genetic risk in the least active group.
Family history and genetic risk are unable to be controlled, but this result suggests that with an active lifestyle, an individual can counteract a lot of the excessive type 2 diabetes risk.
Moderate-intensity physical activity relates to activities that will make you sweat and leave you slightly breathless, which include general gardening and brisk walking.
Vigorous-intensity physical activity examples include cycling uphill or at a fast pace, aerobic dancing, running, and heavy gardening which includes digging, all activities that will make you breathless or make you breathe heavily.
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