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Study: Exercise can stave off diabetes

Skip exercise now, pay later: That's the warning from a study thatfound that younger people who didn't exercise were more likely todevelop diabetes in 20 years than those who stayed fit.

Researchers examined data from the "Coronary Artery RiskDevelopment in Young Adults" study, a study of 5,115 adults initiallyages 18 to 30 that looked at lifestyle and how cardiovascular diseaserisk factors changed over time.

The participants were given a treadmill test at the beginning ofthe study, then at year seven and 20. They were also tested fordiabetes.

At the study's start, white men were the most fit, followed byblack men, white women and black women. White and black men had thehighest fasting glucose levels in the beginning, followed by whitewomen and black women.

Body-mass index was the strongest predictor of developing diabetes.And despite the fact that black men and white men started off on afairly even BMI level at the beginning of the study, BMI was a biggerpredictor of developing diabetes for black men.

Researchers also found that the less fit people were, the higherthe incidence of diabetes.

Lead author Mercedes Carnethon, assistant professor of preventivemedicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine,said in a news release, "The overwhelming importance of a high BMI tothe development of diabetes was somewhat unexpected, and leads us tothink that activity levels need to be adequate not only to raiseaerobic fitness, but also to maintain a healthy body weight. If twopeople have a similar level of fitness, the person with the higher BMIis more likely to develop diabetes."

The study appears in the July issue of the journal Diabetes Care.

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