Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is largely lifestyle driven.
It’s estimated that around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, 85% of whom have type 2. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight or obese and being physically inactive. While physical inactivity is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes, it’s not well understood whether being t has the opposite effect and is protective.
Researchers looked at the relationship between physical activity and inactivity across one million Swedish men who were conscripted into the military service between 1969 and 1997. They looked at tness in terms of both aerobic capacity and strength, which was classi ed as either low, medium or high in each participant.
The men who had low aerobic tness or strength were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to the men who were fit or strong. The men who had both low aerobic capacity and low strength had around three times higher risk of diabetes compared to their fit and strong peers.
This study reiterates the importance of being t and strong to protect against type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes increases a person’s risk of kidney failure, heart disease and blindness. Therefore any measures to reduce that risk can make a substantial difference to improving health and wellbeing. Exercise regularly and try to maintain good levels of physical activity in older age.
Reference: Crump, C et al. Physical tness among Swedish military conscripts and long-term risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Annals of Internal Medicine 2016; 164(9): 577 – 84.