(HealthDay News) — A small proportion of US adults engage in lifestyle behaviors known to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

Karen R. Siegel, PhD, MPH, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 3679 non-pregnant, non-lactating individuals aged 20 years or older without diabetes. Participants provided 2 days of reliable dietary data in the 2007 to 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The average of 2 days of dietary recall and self-reported leisure time physical activity were used to assess whether participants met type 2 diabetes risk reduction goals.

The researchers found that about 21, 29, and 13% of individuals met fruit, vegetable, and dairy goals, respectively. About half (51.6%) and 18% met the goals for total and whole grains, respectively; 54.2% met the meat/beans goal; and 40.6% met the oils goal. Overall, 37.8 and 58.6% met the physical activity and weight loss/maintenance goals, respectively. Only 3.1% of participants met the majority of type 2 diabetes risk reduction goals. The probability of meeting goals was lower with younger age and lower educational attainment.

“A small proportion of US adults engages in risk reduction behaviors,” the authors write. “Research and interventions targeted at young and less-educated segments of the population may help close gaps in risk reduction behaviors.”

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Siegel KR, McKeever Bullard K, Imperatore G, et al. Prevalence of Major Behavioral Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes. Diab Care 2018 Mar;dc171775. DOI:10.2337/dc17-1775