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Get moving for a longer life free of diabetes


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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.

©2006 Reuters Health.

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