Introduction: Environmental and genetic factors play an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). One of the most important lifestyle factors is a low level of physical activity (PA), but no studies have explicitly compared the amount of variation in diabetes prevalence explained by variation in PA compared with the amount explained by genetic variation.
Objectives: We examined associations between PA and patients stratified by the levels of genetic susceptibility to T2D and the prevalence of the disease.
Patients and methods: We assessed the level of PA and family history (FH) of T2D in first‑degree relatives as well as calculated the genetic risk score (GRS). We examined associations of PA, GRS, and FH with the prevalence of T2D among 1195 individuals enrolled in the 1000 Polish Longitudinal University Study (1000‑PLUS) by stratifying the sample according to GRS, FH, and PA.
Results: We found that FH, in contrast to GRS, was positively associated with a higher prevalence of T2D (23.4% in patients with positive FH [FH+], 11.6% in those with negative [FH-]; P <0.001), with the association being stronger in men than in women. The prevalence of T2D was slightly lower among physically active individuals in the FH- group (10.6% in high PA vs 14.7% in low PA) as well as in the FH+ group (19.2% in high PA vs 34.0% in low PA), but the differences were not significant. Similar results were found for high and low GRSs.
Conclusions: We confirmed that PA is significantly associated with glucose homeostasis parameters and T2D prevalence, and that this association may be stronger in individuals who are more genetically predisposed to diabetes.