~ Adult Lifestyles a Key Factor in 'Late Onset' Diabetes, Say Experts

The Northern Echo, 07-06-05

RESEARCHERS in the region have found that adult lifestyles are the biggest risk factor for diabetes.

Until now, it was thought that childhood factors, such as birth weight and nutrition, were significant factors in developing what used to be know as "late onset" diabetes.

But a team from Newcastle University, who studied 412 men and women, has shown that the way we live our lives as adults is more influential in terms of developing diabetes.

They found that fatter adults were more likely to have an increased resistance to insulin in their bodies, a sign that they may be at risk of developing what is now known as type two diabetes.

The study was published in the journal Diabetes-Metabolism Research and Reviews.

Diabetes is a global health problem that is presenting a major medical challenge worldwide. It increases the risk of ill health and shortens life.

In the UK alone, diabetes is said to account for nine per cent of the annual NHS budget - about 5.2bn a year.

Study leader Dr Mark Pearce said the promotion of healthier lifestyles throughout life would be the measure most likely to prevent type two diabetes in UK adults.

In type one diabetes, which usually occurs in childhood, there is a complete lack of insulin. In type two diabetes, insulin in produced, but the body's tissues are resistant to its action, leaving too much glucose in the blood.

Dr Pearce said: "It's never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle - and even though our study shows that childhood experience had limited impact on insulin resistance in adulthood, parents still have a role to play in introducing children to eating a healthy diet and physical exercise, so they can develop good habits that will last throughout adulthood."

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