Diabetes Risk Factors: Is Being Sedentary Worse Than Smoking?

physical inactivity as a risk factor

Poor lifestyle choices are among the most common triggers of type 2 diabetes. These include unhealthy eating habits, stress, drinking, and smoking. Many experts also cite physical inactivity as a risk factor in the onset of the disease.

Sedentary Lifestyle and Diabetes

A 2013 survey found a link between type 2 diabetes and lack of physical activity in patients. The researchers observed more than 60,000 Australian men aged 45 to 64, which is the age group that’s most at risk. They concluded that those who sit for more than six hours each day are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

But there’s also reason to look at physical inactivity as a risk factor for any chronic illness. According to the survey, men who sat for less than four hours a day were much less likely to report chronic health issues.

The researchers noted that these findings may be somewhat incidental, though. As such, there was a need for further research that would look at the link between sedentary lifestyle and diabetes more closely.

What Recent Research Says

One recent study challenged the claims made in the 2013 survey. Over a 13-year period, it observed 5,000 male civil servants in Australia both at work and at home. By the end of the study, only eight percent developed type 2 diabetes, despite leading a sedentary lifestyle.

The researchers thus found little proof to treat physical inactivity as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Still, they can’t dispute the findings of the earlier study. That’s because they were able to establish a loose link between the onset of the disease and the amount of time the men spent at home watching TV.

Type 2 Diabetes Is Preventable

Science still doesn’t know the exact truth about physical inactivity as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. But exercise is a major part of your lifestyle, and your lifestyle habits can trigger the disease. As such, experts claim that type 2 diabetes is preventable in most cases.

To reduce the risk, you should cut down on alcohol consumption and quit smoking. Also, replace carbohydrates with natural sugars and eat plenty of whole grains and fish. And even though there’s no proof that it can help, being physically active certainly won’t do you any harm.

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