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According to the April 18 Annals of Internal Medicine, moderate exercise-such as walking 30 minutes per day most days of the week-would help lower this risk.
Dr. Ming Wei, of The Cooper Institute in Dallas, measured fitness and activity levels of 1,263 men with type 2 diabetes. The men were divided into five groups, according to how well they performed on a fitness test.
Forty-two percent of the men in the study were deemed "low fit." The researchers say low-fitness men were about twice as likely to die from any cause during the study as men in the moderate- or high-fitness groups. Aside from being more likely to die from their diabetes, these unfit men were twice as likely to die from heart disease, 2.4 times as likely to die from cancer, 3.3 times as likely to die from injuries and nearly five times as likely to die from digestive disease.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Charles Clark Jr. of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis wrote, "The data supporting the health benefits of physical activity are overwhelming."
Wei says doctors should encourage patients with type 2 diabetes to participate in regular aerobic exercise.
"However, a physical examination may be needed for the recommendation of the intensity of exercise, especially for patients with severe metabolic disorders."
Editor's note: If you are out of shape, see your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.