January 2, 2006

Get moving for a longer life free of diabetes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The results of a new study may
motivate couch potatoes to get moving in the New Year.
According to the study, people who are physically active live
longer and spend more years free of diabetes than people who
are inactive.

Using data from the Framingham Heart Study, which has
followed some 5,200 residents of Framingham, Massachusetts,
over the past 46 years, researchers calculated the differences
in life expectancy in subjects with and in those without
diabetes associated with different levels of physical activity.

They found that at age 50 life expectancy free of diabetes
is 2.3 years longer for moderately active individuals and at
least 4 years longer for highly active individuals.

"The effect of physical activity on life expectancy without
diabetes reflects both the lower incidence of diabetes and the
lower mortality of nondiabetic individuals associated with
increasing physical activity," Dr. Wilma J. Nusselder from
Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and
colleagues report in Diabetes Care.

The study also shows that life expectancy with diabetes is
roughly 0.5 years less for moderately active people and 0.1
years less for highly active people compared with their
sedentary counterparts.

This reflects two opposing effects -- lower incidence of
diabetes in people who are active, reducing the time spent with
diabetes -- and lower mortality in those with diabetes,
increasing the time spent with diabetes.

"Our study suggests that if sedentary people could be
stimulated to be at least moderately active, they could extend
their lives and increase their life-time spent without
diabetes," the team concludes.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, January 2006.