In a nutshell
This study investigated which lifestyle factor has the strongest effect on mortality among diabetic patients and compared to non-diabetics.
Diabetes is known to increase the risk of several conditions, including heart disease and premature death. Successful management of diabetes involves both lifestyle changes and drug therapy. Several lifestyle factors, such as smoking, a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet, are known to increase the risk of premature death. However, to what extent are the effects of these lifestyle factors increased among diabetics is still unclear. In addition, which among these factors affects mortality the most was also investigated.
Methods & findings
This study analyzed the medical records of 6,384 diabetic patients and 258,911 people without diabetes (acting as a control group). Researchers studied how weight, consumption of different foods, alcohol intake, physical activity and smoking affected mortality in both groups.
Results showed that overall, diabetic patients experienced a 62% increased risk of premature death compared to the control group. The effect of dietary differences on mortality was found to be more significant among diabetic patients compared to the control group. A diet high in fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, poultry and vegetable oil was associated with a lower risk of premature mortality. In comparison, a diet high in butter or margarine was associated with a higher risk of premature mortality. Smoking, inactivity and alcohol consumption were all associated with an increased risk of death, but these did not seem to affect diabetics significantly more than the control group.
The bottom line
This study concluded that dietary habits are the most significant life style factor affecting mortality among diabetic patients.