To examine the combined effects of body mass index (BMI), physical activity (PA) and sitting on incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) among Australian adults.
A sample of 29,572 adults aged ≥45 years from New South Wales, Australia, completed baseline (2006–2008) and follow-up (2010) questionnaires. Incident T2DM was defined as self-reported, physician-diagnosed diabetes at follow-up. BMI was categorized as normal/overweight/obese. PA was tertiled into low/medium/ high. Sitting was dichotomized as higher/lower sitting (≥ 8 hours/day or < 8 hours/day). Odds ratios (OR) were estimated for developing T2DM using logistics regression for individual and combined risk factors, and data stratified by BMI categories.
During a mean 2.7 (SD: 0.9) years of follow-up, 611 (2.1%) participants developed T2DM. In fully adjusted models, BMI was the only independent risk factor for incident T2DM. In stratified analyses, the association between BMI and T2DM did not differ significantly across sitting or PA categories. Overweight/obese individuals with high PA and lower sitting had higher odds of incident T2DM than normal counterparts with low PA and higher sitting.
High PA/low sitting did not attenuate the risk of T2DM associated with overweight/obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight, by adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors, is critical for T2DM prevention.