Background and aims: The combined effect of the components of energy balance (energy intake and physical activity) and the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has not been adequately investigated. The aim of this study was to examine the components of energy balance and the incidence of T2D in a cohort of middle-aged women.
Methods and results: A population-based prospective study of 64,227 middle-aged Chinese women who had no prior history of diabetes or chronic disease at study recruitment. Participants completed in-person interviews at baseline and follow-up surveys that collected information on diabetes risk factors including dietary and physical activity habits and disease occurrence. Anthropometric measurements were taken by trained interviewers at recruitment. Average follow-up time was 4.6 years. During 297,755 person-years of follow-up, 1608 new cases of T2D were documented. Body mass index (BMI) and weight gain (since age 20) were strongly associated with T2D incidence. Energy intake (EI) was associated with modestly increased risk, while physical activity (PA) was associated with decreased risk of T2D. Less active women with higher EI had higher risk of T2D (RR=1.96; 95% CI: 1.44, 2.67) than active women with lower EI (P(interaction)=0.02). The EI to PA (EI:PA) ratio was positively associated with T2D risk; the association was more evident among overweight and obese women (BMI > or = 23 kg/m(2)).
Conclusion: These data suggest that energy balance plays an important role in the development of T2D, and this effect may be modified by BMI.