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Health: Now, an Update on Those New Year's Resolutions

A study found a short-term increase in diabetes risk in people who quit smoking. Another study links each hour spent sitting and watching TV daily to an increased risk of death. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

People who stop smoking often replace cigarettes with food. A new study says the weight they gain may increase their diabetes risk in the short term.

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Type two diabetes is common in people who eat too much and exercise too little and those with a family history of it. Smoking is another risk factor. But quitting smoking may carry a temporary risk.

The study found that smokers who quit had a seventy percent increased risk of developing the disease in the first six years. That was compared to those who had never smoked.

The risks were highest in the first three years. And the risk returned to normal after ten years of not smoking.

The researchers say weight gain is probably to blame for the increase. But they say smokers should stop anyway -- and the real message is not to even start.

Type two diabetes interferes with the body's use of insulin. The substance produced by the pancreas normally lowers blood sugar during and after eating. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and nerve damage.

The study is from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. It appears in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Another American study says obesity has become as great a threat to quality of life as smoking. It compared losses in what are called "quality-adjusted life years." The study found that losses from obesity are now equal to, if not greater than, those from smoking.

These days, there are fewer smokers in the country but more people who are extremely overweight. The findings are based on questions about health-related quality of life in government telephone surveys.

The study is from Columbia University and the City College of New York. It appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

And another study has linked each hour of watching television daily to an eighteen percent increased risk of death from heart disease. The study of adults in Australia also found an increased risk of death from others causes. The findings are published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Lead author David Dunstan at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Victoria says the body was designed to move. He says even if people have a healthy body weight, sitting for long periods of time still has an unhealthy influence on blood sugar and blood fats.

And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver and available at I'm Steve Ember.