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[LESS IS STILL MORE ] Leisure-time activity may curb some diabetes risks

A recent study found that even a very low level of leisure-time physical activity was associated with a reduced risk of neuropathy and nephropathy  among individuals with type 2 diabetes. For both conditions, the minimal effective physical activity level seemed to be the equivalent of less than 1.5 hours of walking per week.

The study included data from more than 18,000 individuals with type 2 diabetes enrolled in the UK Biobank. Self-reported leisure-time physical activity was converted into MET-hours  (metabolic equivalent of task; a measure of energy expenditure).

Participants were grouped into categories based on their MET hours per week. An expenditure of 7.5 MET hours per week is equivalent to 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, the minimum recommended by the US government.

The categories were: no physical activity (0 MET-hours/week), below recommendations (0–7.49 MET-h/week), at recommendations (7.5–14.9 MET-h/week), and above recommendations (≥15 MET-h/week).

During a median follow-up of 12.1 years, 672 individuals (3.7%) were diagnosed with neuropathy and 1,839 (10.2%) with nephropathy, plus 2,099 (11.7%) with retinopathy. About an hour and a half of  leisure-time physical activity was associated with a 30% lower risk of neuropathy and a 20% lower risk of neuropathy. However, physical activity did not lower the risk of retinopathy.

To read the abstract of the article, published in Diabetes Care, click here

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