Scientists from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that lack of fitness in teen years is strongly associated with a high risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes later in life.
Study authors also found that the risk was similar in all participants regardless of their weight. The study revealed a link between poor muscle strength and physical fitness in youth and an above average risk of developing diabetes in adulthood.
Dr. Casey Crump, lead author of the study and researcher with Icahn School of Medicine, explained that poor muscular fitness and low physical activity level were associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes, even in people with a normal BMI.
Crump also noted that the mix between poor muscular fitness and lack of physical activity boosted the risk of diabetes more than each cause taken separately.
Scientists based their study on data on about 1 million young males in the Swedish military. All participants were 18 years old. The volunteers were monitored between 1969 and the late 1990s. Plus, none of them had been diagnosed with diabetes.
The participants who were still alive at the time of the study were tracked through 2012, and their diabetes risk was assessed. The study revealed that two percent, or 34,000 volunteers, have developed diabetes, most of them around the age of 46.
Researchers observed that participants who had a poor fitness level in their youth were thrice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as their more fit peers.
Dr. Peter T. Katzmarzyk of the Louisiana-based Pennington Biomedical Research Center urged the scientific community not to ignore the recent study and the association between fitness traits and risk of diabetes regardless of participants’ body weight.
The study was published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
According to official reports, 29.1 million Americans live with diabetes, of whom more than 8 million have the disease and not know it. One in 20 young and middle-aged adults have the disease, and so does one in four seniors.
In 2012, 1.7 million people learned they had diabetes.
The cause for diabetes remains unclear, but health experts suspect unhealthy lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, high-fat or/and high-sugar diets, excess weight, and also a family history.
Reportedly, men are more likely to develop the condition than women. Also, children of diabetic parents are more prone to develop type 2 diabetes. Some studies had revealed that the risk is even higher if the child’s mother had the disease.
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