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The lifestyle habits of older women living alone may cause them to have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the results of a Swedish study. For the research, 461 Swedish women between the ages of 50 and 64 were followed for >2 years. The women had prediabetes when the study began. They were given advice on diet, exercise, and smoking to reduce their risk of developing diabetes.
The results showed that women who lived alone were 3 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with women who lived with family. At the end of the study, 12% had developed the disease, with women living alone being at the highest risk, regardless of biological factors such a family history of diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. The researchers attributed the increased risk to smoking. Women who lived alone were more apt to smoke and more likely to continue smoking during the study period. Diet and drinking habits also appeared to play a role. (The findings were reported in Diabetes Care, October 2005.)