Physical activity reduces the risk of incident type 2 diabetes in general and in abdominally lean and obese men and women: the EPIC-InterAct Study

Diabetologia - Clinical and Experimental Diabetes and Metabolism, 05/07/2012

Physical activity is associated with a reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes across BMI categories in men and women, as well as in abdominally lean and obese men and women.

Methods

  • The InterAct caseā€“cohort study consists of 12,403 incident type 2 diabetes cases and a randomly selected subcohort of 16,154 individuals, drawn from a total cohort of 340,234 participants with 3.99 million person–years of follow–up.
  • Physical activity was assessed by a four–category index.
  • Obesity was measured by BMI and waist circumference (WC).
  • Associations between physical activity, obesity and case–ascertained incident type 2 diabetes were analysed by Cox regression after adjusting for educational level, smoking status, alcohol consumption and energy intake.
  • In combined analyses, individuals were stratified according to physical activity level, BMI and WC.

Results

  • A one–category difference in physical activity (equivalent to approximately 460 and 365 kJ/day in men and women, respectively) was independently associated with a 13% (HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.80, 0.94) and 7% (HR 0.93, 95% CI 0.89, 0.98) relative reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women, respectively.
  • Lower levels of physical activity were associated with an increased risk of diabetes across all strata of BMI.
  • Comparing inactive with active individuals, the HRs were 1.44 (95% CI 1.11, 1.87) and 1.38 (95% CI 1.17, 1.62) in abdominally lean and obese inactive men, respectively, and 1.57 (95% CI 1.19, 2.07) and 1.19 (95% CI 1.01, 1.39) in abdominally lean and obese inactive women, respectively.

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