Exercise is the best way to beat diabetes

Time is better spent the gym than on the sofa say experts. Picture: Getty
Time is better spent the gym than on the sofa say experts. Picture: Getty
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THERE have been raspberry diets, cabbage soup diets, cleansing juice diets and the 5:2 but a new study has revealed the best way to prevent obesity is … more exercise combined with less sitting around.

The study by University College London said to beat the obesity time bomb, not only must people do more vigorous exercise but rethink how they enjoy their leisure time.

And the health benefits of exercise are wasted if people spend their leisure time sitting around watching telly or playing computer games.

Physical activity and sitting time are two common lifestyle-related behaviours associated with obesity and metabolic health, as well as with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and with all-cause mortality.

Previous research has concentrated on one or the other but both are linked because sedentary lifestyles promote too little exercise.

The study published the combined effects on long-term risk of developing obesity and of developing a clustering of metabolic risk factors, such as having two or more of low “good” cholesterol, high levels of blood fats, high blood pressure, high blood glucose, and insulin resistance.

Civil servants took part in the Whitehall II cohort study and nearly three quarters were men with an average age of 56.

The odds of developing obesity and of developing metabolic risk factor clustering after five and ten years were calculated for adults with different levels and combinations of physical activity and leisure sitting time.

The study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, found that physical activity, but not leisure time sitting, was associated with becoming obese.

However, the lowest odds of becoming obese after five years were observed for individuals reporting both high physical activity and low leisure time sitting.

Joshua Bell of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health said: “The protective effects of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and low leisure time sitting against developing obesity and metabolic risk factor clustering are strongest when viewed in combination.

“The effectiveness of physical activity for preventing obesity may depend on how much you sit in your leisure time.

“Both high levels of physical activity and low levels of leisure time sitting may be required to substantially reduce the risk of becoming obese.

“Associations with developing metabolic risk factor clustering were less clear.

“Intervention studies are needed to examine whether a total lifestyle approach, promoting both high physical activity and low leisure time sitting, is most effective at reducing the risk of becoming obese.”

A total of 3,340,313 items were dispensed to treat diabetes in Scotland in 2013-14, at a cost of £75.7 million an increase from £73.2m last year and £74.2m in 2011-12.

Last year, it was estimated the Scottish NHS spends £60m a year on amputations and treating foot ulcers for patients with diabetes.