Knowing Diabetes Risk May Not Lead to Healthy Choices
Genetic testing—which can assess the risk for a number of diseases, allowing people to take steps to reduce their risk in some cases—is becoming more common. However, a new study shows that providing individuals detailed information about their genetic risk for developing diabetes may not influence lifestyle choices any more than general knowledge about diabetes does.
For the study, researchers analyzed type 2 diabetes risk in 569 healthy adults born between 1950 and 1965 using genetic and observational methods—blood tests to screen for gene variants, information about age and weight, etc. All study participants were given information about how to prevent diabetes. One-third of the participants were also given information about their genetic risk, and another third were given information based on their key risk factors for the disease.
When researchers monitored study participants' physical activity, those who were given more detailed information about their individual risk for diabetes did not get significantly more exercise than those given just general information about diabetes prevention. More long-term research is needed to determine if genetic testing to assess diabetes risk is beneficial.
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