Cardiovascular health linked to diabetes risk

Good overall cardiovascular health has been found to significantly lower diabetes risk, but ethnicity also plays a role

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the US calculated the incidence of diabetes in a multiethnic study of 5341 people over 11 years.

Analysing cardiovascular health markers such as total cholesterol, physical activity, blood pressure, tobacco use, dietary intake and BMI among participants, they found those with lower levels of health among these markers had a higher incidence of diabetes.

The association was dose-dependent – those meeting the ‘ideal’ category for each of these markers had the lowest chance of developing diabetes; those with ‘intermediate’ cardiovascular health had a higher chance; and those with ‘poor’ cardiovascular health were at highest risk.

Participants with ≥4 markers in the ‘ideal’ range had a 75% lower diabetes incidence than those with 0-1 meeting the ‘ideal’, while people with 2-3 markers had a 34% lower diabetes incidence.

Significant variations were also found between ethnicities.

African-American and Hispanic-American participants had higher diabetes incidence rates (5.6 per 1000 person-years) compared with non-Hispanic white Americans (2.2 per 1000 person-years).

Meeting population health goals for dietary intake, physical activity, smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI is therefore associated with a dose-dependent lower risk of diabetes, with significant variation by race/ethnicity, the researchers concluded.

Diabetologia 2016; online 8 June

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