Diabetes affects more than one in 10 Americans, with the numbers projected to keep climbing. The chronic disease can mean frequent needle jabs to test blood sugar levels—and costly treatments. And there is still no cure in sight.
But recently, researchers have found that a number of lifestyle factors up the odds of getting type 2 diabetes. These factors include obesity, a poor diet, lack of physical activity, cigarettes and too much alcohol.
So, how much can cutting out these vices lower the need for insulin injections in the future? A lot, says a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. [Jared Reis, et al., "Lifestyle factors and risk for new-onset diabetes: a population-based cohort study"]
Researchers followed the health of more than 200,000 adults aged 50 to 71 over 11 years. The risk of developing diabetes over the study period was about 10 percent for men and 8 percent for women. But each healthful behavior—say, getting plenty of exercise—lowered the risk of developing diabetes by as much as 39 percent in women and 31 percent in men. The trick, of course, is to successfully motivate people to chance their current behavior in order to avoid a diabetic future.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]