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Heart-healthy habits may keep diabetes at bay: study

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Columbus, OH — What’s good for your heart may be good for your blood glucose levels, results of a recent study suggest.

Researchers from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center assessed diabetes among 7,758 participants in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. The researchers also used the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 health factors and lifestyle behaviors – activity, diet, weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose and tobacco use – as a guide to measure cardiovascular health.

Participants who were in the ideal ranges for at least four of the seven factors and behaviors had a 70 percent lower risk of developing diabetes over the next decade. Further, for those with normal blood glucose levels who also met at least four of the seven factors, their diabetes risk over the next 10 years was 80 percent lower.

However, participants who had prediabetes and met four of the factors had no change in lowering their diabetes risk. Those results speak to the value of prevention, researcher Joshua Joseph, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at the medical center, said in a Jan. 16 press release.

“Healthy people need to work to stay healthy,” Joseph added. “Don’t proceed to high blood sugar and then worry about stopping diabetes. By that point, people need high-intensity interventions that focus on physical activity and diet to promote weight loss and, possibly, medications to lower the risk of diabetes.”

The study was published online Jan. 15 in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

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