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Adult lifestyle biggest risk factor for diabetes, study finds

ADULT lifestyle has more influence on your chances of developing diabetes than childhood experience, according to new research whose findings contradict previously-held beliefs.

A team from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, studied 412 men and women and found that fatter adults were more likely to have increased insulin resistance, a risk marker for Type 2 diabetes.

Childhood factors, such as birth weight and nutrition, were found to have limited impact, whereas they were previously thought to be significant. The study is published in the academic journal, Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews.

Diabetes is a global health problem that is presenting a major medical challenge worldwide. It increases the risk of ill health and shortens life. In the UK alone, diabetes has been said to account for nine per cent of the annual NHS budget approximately 5.2 billion a year.

There are two kinds of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2. All diabetes is characterized by raised blood sugar (glucose). In Type 1 diabetes there is an absolute lack of insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, insulin is produced, but the body's tissues are resistant to its action, leaving too much glucose in the blood.

Type 2 diabetes is strongly related to overweight and lack of physical activity, and accounts for 90% of all diabetes. It usually occurs in middle to older aged adults. The World Health Organisation predicts that the number of people with type 2 diabetes will more than double over the next 25 years.

The Newcastle University study measured participants' percentage body fat and waist-hip ratio, along with other lifestyle elements. Men and women with a higher body fat and higher waist-hip ratio were more likely to demonstrate increased insulin resistance.

The data was collected as part of the Thousand Families Study, a Newcastle University project which has examined the health of children born in Newcastle in May and June 1947 througho
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Contact: Dr Mark Pearce
m.s.pearce@ncl.ac.uk
44-191-202-3082
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
5-Jul-2005


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