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Many lifestyle factors linked to diabetes risk

Sep 5, 2011, 2:13 p.m.

While that's realistic for people who are white, he told Reuters Health, studies have suggested that Asians and people of other ethnicities might have an increased diabetes risk at lower BMIs as well, and that their threshold for being overweight may be different.

One limitation to the study, the researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine, is that participants may have changed their lifestyle during the decade following the first survey -- and those changes wouldn't be reflected in the findings.

The study also can't prove definitively that by cutting out cigarettes or saturated fats, any one person can lower his or her risk of diabetes. It's possible, for example, that people who exercised less were also less healthy for other reasons not measured by the surveys.

But Dr. David Jenkins, a nutrition researcher from the University of Toronto who also didn't participate in the new study, said the findings point to "a way forward" for people who are motivated to lower their risk of diabetes. "This just says, look, this is what you have to do," he told Reuters Health.

"This would suggest again that even for those who have a family history, if you adopt a healthy lifestyle you can have a strong influence on whether you end up developing diabetes," Reis said.

"The fact that (those findings) are evident in this older population is also a good thing," he said. "It means it's never too late."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/atTzv0 Annals of Internal Medicine, September 5, 2011.

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