Physical exercise and a healthy diet can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes

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A routine with physical exercises on a regular basis, combined with a diet that includes fruit, vegetables and others healthy food, could be the key for middle-aged adults to achieve optimal cardiometabolic health in the future.

All this according to new research using data from the ‘Framingham Heart Study’ published in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’. Journal of the American Heart Association, based in Dallas (United States).

One of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular health is metabolic syndrome. A group of disorders made up of excess fat around the waist, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. In fact, the presence of metabolic syndrome can increase the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Thus, health authorities recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week, such as walking or swimming.

Researchers developed the research for years

In an analysis of data from participants in the Framingham Heart Study, which began more than 70 years ago in Framingham, Massachusetts, the researchers examined data from 2,379 adults. All of them over 18 years of age and in strict compliance with the two guidelines, both physical and dietary.

Thus, they observed that compliance with a combination of the two recommendations during middle age was associated with a lower probability of suffering from metabolic syndrome. In addition to avoiding developing serious conditions as the participants aged in their third age, such as diabetes or hypertension.

How was the investigation process carried out?

The study participants were selected from the third generation of the ‘Framingham Heart Study’. These, with an average age of 47 years and with a percentage of women of 54 percent, were examined between 2008 and 2011. The researchers evaluated physical activity using a specialized device known as an omnidirectional accelerometer.

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The device, which tracks sedentary lifestyle and physical activity, was worn on the participant’s hip for eight days. The researchers also collected dietary information using food frequency questionnaires to measure the types and levels of food and nutrients consumed.

Thus, the researchers observed that, among all the participants, 28 percent met the recommendations of both the physical activity guidelines and the dietary guidelines. While 47 percent reached the recommendations in only one of the guidelines.

These results prove that the combination of both factors can improve our health

In addition, the researchers also found that participants who followed only the physical activity recommendations were 51% less likely to have metabolic syndrome. While participants who followed only the dietary guidelines were 3% less likely, and participants who followed both guidelines were 65% less likely to develop metabolic syndrome.

“Notably, we observed a dose-response association of adherence to dietary and physical activity guidelines with the risk of cardiometabolic disease later in life,” Xanthakis said. “Participants who met physical activity guidelines had a progressively lower risk of cardiometabolic disease as adherence to dietary guidelines increased,” he adds.

However, all of the study participants were white adults, so the results cannot be generalized to people of other racial or ethnic groups. “Further studies with a sample of multiethnic participants are needed,” the researchers have claimed.

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