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Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2013 Jun 6;12:83. doi: 10.1186/1475-2840-12-83.

Diabetes severity and the role of leisure time physical exercise on cardiovascular mortality: the Nord-Trøndelag Health study (HUNT), Norway.

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Department of Human Movement Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.



Physical activity has been associated with lower cardiovascular mortality in people with diabetes, but how diabetes severity influence this association has not been extensively studied.


We prospectively examined the joint association of diabetes severity, measured as medical treatment status and disease duration, and physical exercise with cardiovascular mortality. A total of 56,170 people were followed up for 24 years through the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry. Cox proportional adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated.


Overall, 7,723 people died from cardiovascular disease during the follow-up. Compared to the reference group of inactive people without diabetes, people with diabetes who reported no medical treatment had a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.65 (95% CI: 1.34, 2.03) if they were inactive and a HR of 0.99 (95% CI: 0.68, 1.45) if they reported ≥2.0 hours physical exercise per week. Among people who received oral hypoglycemic drugs or insulin, the corresponding comparison gave HRs of 2.46 (95% CI: 2.08-2.92) and 1.58 (95% CI: 1.21, 2.05), respectively.


The data suggest a more favourable effect of exercise in people with diabetes who used medication than in those who did not, suggesting that physical exercise should be encouraged as a therapeutic measure additional to medical treatment.

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