FRIDAY, Sept. 30, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus, there is an inverse association between number of optimal modifiable factors and an incrementally lower risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Sept. 21 in The BMJ.

Jiaxi Yang, Ph.D., from the National University of Singapore, and colleagues examined the individual and combined associations of five modifiable risk factors (not being overweight or obese, high-quality diet, regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, and no current smoking) with the risk for type 2 diabetes among 4,275 women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus. Genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes was assessed by genetic risk score based on 59 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 1,372 participants.

The researchers found that 924 women developed type 2 diabetes during a median follow-up of 27.9 years. Participants with optimal levels of all five factors had >90 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes compared with those who did not have optimal levels of any of the risk factors. Hazard ratios (95 percent confidence intervals) of type 2 diabetes were 0.94 (0.59 to 1.49), 0.61 (0.38 to 0.96), 0.32 (0.20 to 0.51), 0.15 (0.09 to 0.26), and 0.08 (0.03 to 0.23) for those with one, two, three, four, and five optimal levels of modifiable risk factors, respectively. The inverse association was also seen for those who were overweight/obese or had higher genetic susceptibility.

“This study highlights the important public health opportunity for the prevention of type 2 diabetes in this high risk population,” the authors write.

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