Researchers at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes 2012 Meeting reported this week that higher levels of leisure-time physical activity cut the risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in people with type 2 diabetes, says an article by Heartwire. People with diabetes who did little or no exercise at baseline and then substantially increased their leisure-time physical-activity
levels over approximately 5 years cut their risk of death by almost two-thirds.
The researchers used data on leisure-time physical activity, recorded yearly, from more than 15,000 men and women with type 2 diabetes included in the Swedish National Diabetes Register. Participants were grouped as either "low physical activity" (no regular exercise or exercise once per week) or "regular exercise" (between 3 times per week and daily exercise). If patients died during the course of the study, their last recorded physical-activity level was used for the analysis.
Over a 5-year period, regular exercisers were significantly less likely to have a cardiovascular event or to die either from cardiovascular disease or any other cause.
The investigators also looked at patients who reported doing little or no physical activity at baseline but who increased their regular exercise to at least 3 times per week by the end of the study period (a mean of 4.8 years). Cardiovascular deaths among these patients dropped by 67% compared with patients who did not improve their exercise habits. Rates of all-cause mortality were reduced by almost the same degree.
Session moderator Nick Wareham, MD, stressed that the data "… should encourage us to focus on encouraging physical activity as part and parcel of medical care."
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