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Low-intensity exercise cuts risk of diabetes in over-70s

By Lilian Anekwe

Physical exercise at low intensity at least once a week is enough to significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in people aged 70 years or older, according to UK researchers.

And in those aged 50–69 years, only moderate-intensity exercise at least once a week was required to lower the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers analysed data from 7,500 patients in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging who were aged 50 years or older without known diabetes at baseline.

Patients recorded the amount of exercise they participated in and were categorised as either physically inactive, participating in low or moderate-intensity exercise at least once a week during a mean follow-up period of 45.3 months.

Moderate-intensity exercise was associated with a significant 36% reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes compared with no exercisers.

After stratification by age, over-70s who participated in low-intensity exercise once a week or more had a significant 47% reduction in risk for Type 2 diabetes compared with non-exercisers.

Study lead Dr Panayotes Demakakos, senior research associate in epidemiology and public health at University College London, concluded: ‘Physical activity recommendations for adults aged 70 years and over should encourage participation in any physical activity.'

Diabetologia, published online 22 May 2010

Researchers found that low-intensity physical exercise significantly cut the risk of diabetes in the over-70s - credit: maHidooi, Flickr Researchers found that low-intensity physical exercise significantly cut the risk of diabetes in the over-70s - credit: maHidooi, Flickr

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