Study: Following AHA’s Life’s Simple 7® May Reduce Diabetes Risk Significantly

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By : Suvarna Sheth

It’s known that heart disease and diabetes often go hand in hand. Now, new research proves that following the American Heart Association’s guidelines, dubbed Life’s Simple 7®, may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 80 percent.

How was the Study Conducted?

Researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine studied the health of 7,758 participants from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study from 2003-2007. The participants had a mean age of 63.

Baseline cholesterol, blood pressure, diet, smoking, physical activity, and BMI were used to categorize participants based on the number of ideal cardiovascular health components.

They found that participants with normal fasting glucose who practiced two to three of the AHA recommended behaviors had a 36 percent lower risk of diabetes. They found that participants with at least four of the behaviors had an 80 percent lower risk of diabetes.

What are Life’s Simple 7 Guidelines?

The AHA’s Life Simple 7 are as follows: Get active, manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, eat better, reduce blood sugar, lose weight, and stop smoking.

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Other Significant Outcomes

The research also showed that race was a factor in diabetes risk. It was found that African American participants who had at least four Simple 7 factors had a 66 percent lower risk of diabetes. While Caucasians had a 73 percent lower risk.

The authors conclude that a higher number of ideal cardiovascular health components was associated with a dose-dependent lower risk of diabetes for participants with normal fasting glucose but not impaired fasting glucose.

They indicate that tailored efforts that take into account observed differences by race and glycaemic level are needed for the primordial prevention of diabetes.

Feature image courtesy: American Heart Association

The research has been published in Diabetologia.


  1. Ideal cardiovascular health, glycaemic status, and incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. (2019, Jan. 15). Retrieved: