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Diet and exercise can halt Type 2 diabetes

Diet and exercise can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes for 14 years, according to an article published today in the Diabetes Special Issue of The Lancet medical journal.

The authors reviewed studies that have shown some people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) can delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes by making changes to their diet and taking more physical activity.

“Group-based interventions targeting lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise produce a durable and long-lasting reduction in incidence of Type 2 diabetes,” said the authors after looking at a longitudinal Chinese study of almost 600 people. “Since around three million excess deaths a year are attributable to diabetes worldwide, lifestyle interventions seem to be a justifiable public-health action both in developed and developing nations.”

Reducing the risk

“Type 2 diabetes is inextricably linked to being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle. A Finnish study has already shown that regular physical activity and eating a healthier diet can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes in some people. Similarly, this study indicates that Chinese people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can also delay the long-term onset of the condition," said Pav Pank, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK.

“Although it can be a genetic condition, this growing body of evidence confirms that your best protection against developing Type 2 diabetes is to make lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy balanced diet and taking regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can make all the difference.

“Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition. If not diagnosed early and managed effectively, it can lead to complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness and amputation. If you think you might be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, you should go to your GP for a simple diabetes test.”

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