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NEW YORK (AP) Researchers have found no link between playing sports or playing basketball in high school or college, but the finding raises questions about whether some types of physical activity are better than others for preventing diabetes.
The study was published in the journal BMJ.
The researchers, from New York University School of Medicine, found that only one in 10 college-aged athletes had diabetes.
They said that this lack of association might reflect the lack of a clear biological connection between playing and diabetes.
In addition, they said the study’s results did not rule out a biological explanation for the lack in association.
The findings are important for the public and policymakers, because people with diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed, said lead study author and medical student Elizabeth O’Brien, PhD, who is an assistant professor in the Division of Sports Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.
“This study is a very important finding for public health,” she said.
O’Connor and her co-authors collected data from a nationally representative sample of nearly 1,500 high school and college athletes and their coaches, medical school students and teachers.
Their findings are consistent with other studies, they reported.
They found that people who played sports in high schools were 3.5 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who did not.
But the researchers said that finding may be because of confounding factors, such as obesity and sedentary behavior, or because the athletes had lower levels of activity or physical activity in highschool and college.
They also said that athletes who played more often were more likely than those not to have diabetes.
One potential factor that may explain the lack and/or high prevalence of diabetes among high school-aged college athletes is that the participants were not physically active, O’Donnells study found.
The participants were asked to participate in a battery of activities, such like running a race, and then they completed a questionnaire about their daily physical activity levels.
“The questions asked in this study were not specific about whether they played basketball, volleyball, tennis or soccer,” O’Connell said.
“What we found was that the only physical activity that was related to diabetes risk was moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.”
In a follow-up study of 1,300 athletes who participated in the study, Olin said she was surprised by the results, especially considering that the athletes were young, middle-aged, healthy adults.
The average age of the participants was 29, and they were mostly white, and not particularly obese, she said, adding that they also had high levels of education and were not currently taking medication for their diabetes.
“We know that physical activity is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other conditions,” Olin added.
“But it was a surprise to see a link between basketball and diabetes.”
Olin and her colleagues conducted the study in partnership with researchers from the University of Colorado Denver and the University at Buffalo, the same research institutions that found that high school basketball players had a lower incidence of diabetes than the general population.
The results of the new study were also compared with another previous study, which found that the incidence of type 2 diabetes among young athletes was higher than that among adults of the same age.
The new study found that basketball did not increase the risk of diabetes.
Olin’s study also showed that athletes did not develop diabetes more quickly or more slowly than other types of athletes.
She said that if there were any biological mechanisms involved in the association between basketball playing and type 2, it would be related to physical activity.
The current study was not designed to evaluate whether playing basketball, which involves pushing, throwing and jumping, is associated to diabetes, Ollie said.
Instead, it looked at whether there was a biological difference between physical activity and athletic performance, she explained.
The association between physical and athletic physical activity was greater among athletes who were physically active than among those who were not, she added.
Researchers noted that the findings did not prove that playing basketball was the cause of diabetes, because there was no association in this case with any specific type of physical or athletic activity.
“However, the findings provide additional evidence that the relationship between physical fitness and diabetes is complex and not solely driven by the impact of physical training,” Ollies co-author and researcher Matthew L. Cohen, PhD said in a news release.
“Playing sports may be a powerful way to boost physical fitness, but there are important caveats.”
Previous research has linked physical activity with better blood sugar control and with lower risk for developing diabetes.
A study published in April 2016 in the Journal of the American College of Sports Nutrition found that moderate-to-vigorous exercise, including playing basketball or playing tennis, is an important tool for improving glucose control and reducing risk for type 2 diabetics.
Researchers also found that athletes with a high level of physical fitness have a lower prevalence of type 1 diabetes than athletes with low levels of physical strength, muscular