The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Lifestyle choices and diabetes risk later in life

    There are 5 choices that make a difference, according to this report by the Cardiovascular Health Study group.

    First, the details.

    • 4883 adults 65 years or older were monitored for 10 years.
    • Their lifestyle choices later in life were compared to their risk of diabetes mellitus.
    • Low-risk lifestyle included the following factors
      • Physical activity
        • Higher than the median: exercise more than half of the people in your age group
        • Leisure-time activity and walking pace
      • Dietary score
        • Higher fiber intake
        • Higher polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio
        • Lower trans-fat intake
        • Lower glycemic index: ranking food by the speed it’s converted from carbohydrates to sugar
      • Smoking
        • Never smoked
        • Former smoker more than 20 years ago or for fewer than 5 pack-years
      • Alcohol use
      • Obesity
        • Body mass index (BMI) less than 25
        • Waist circumference: 88 cm (34.6 inches) for women, 92 cm (36.2 inches) for men
    • Diabetes was defined as the new use of insulin or oral hypoglycemic drugs.

    And, the results.

    • 337 people were diagnosed with diabetes requiring drug treatment.
    • Each lifestyle factor was independently associated with a higher risk of diabetes
    • People cut their risk of diabetes by half when they were physically active and had good dietary habits.
    • Adding no smoking, and healthy alcohol habits lowered this risk 82%.
    • The absence of obesity (healthy waist circumference and BMI) lowered this risk another 7%.

    The bottom line?
    When elderly people follow healthy lifestyle choices as defined in this study, they could lower the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes by about 90%.

    Here are the 5 life choices for older people that will increase or decrease their risk for diabetes later in life.

    • Physical activity
    • Diet
    • Smoking
    • Alcohol use
    • Obesity

    And, there’s no need to take drugs or CAM to achieve the benefits.

    4/28/09 09:44 JR

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