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Greater life satisfaction tied to lower type 2 diabetes risk in men

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January 12, 2018

Men who report greater rather than less satisfaction with life are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, but the relationship does not hold for women, study data show.

Karl-Heinz Ladwig, MD, PhD, head of the mental health epidemiology unit of the Institute of Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, German Research Centre for Environmental Health in Munich, and colleagues evaluated data from two population-based surveys (MONICA and KORA) conducted from 1989 to 1995 from 7,107 adults (51.5%; mean age, 47.8 years) to determine associations between life satisfaction and incident type 2 diabetes. Participants were followed until 2009.

At baseline, 26.9% of men and 25.3% of women reported a high level of life satisfaction.

During a median follow-up of 14.2 years, 568 cases of type 2 diabetes were identified; 342 in men. Incident rates of type 2 diabetes were 57 per 10,000 person-years in men with high life satisfaction, 73 per 10,000 in men with medium to low life satisfaction, 37 per 10,000 in women with higher life satisfaction and 48 per 10,000 in women with medium or low life satisfaction.

The risk for type 2 diabetes was 22% lower in men with high life satisfaction compared with men with medium or low life satisfaction (HR = 0.78; 95% CI, 0.6-1). The risk was further reduced (28% lower) in men with high life satisfaction compared with men with medium or low life satisfaction after adjustment for age, survey, parental history of diabetes, smoking status, alcohol intake, physical activity, BMI, hypertension and dyslipidemia; however, after adjustment for depressed mood, the association was no longer significant.

No significant associations were observed between high life satisfaction and incident type 2 diabetes in women.

“The findings suggest that life satisfaction has a protective role in the development of type 2 diabetes, independently of common risk factors, and call for increased consideration of psychological well-being,” the researchers wrote. “The assessment of life satisfaction may be considered in the prediction of type 2 diabetes risk in men, and positive psychological well-being interventions may be targeted at individuals at high risk as preventive measures.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.