To assess the relationship between self-reported frequency of participation in sporting activity and the prevalence of hyperglycemia (nonfasting glucose level > or = 7.8 mM) in middle-aged men.


We used a cross-sectional study of 7617 British middle-aged men, drawn from 24 general practices in England, Wales, and Scotland, who were participants in the British Regional Heart Study. The response rate was 78%. Patients with diabetes (physician-diagnosed) were excluded from our analysis. Frequency of participation in sporting activity was determined by the respondents and reported as none (61%), occasionally (12%), or frequently (27%).


The age-adjusted prevalence odds ratio for hyperglycemia was 0.86 (95% confidence interval, 0.6–1.2) in those reporting occasional, and 0.62 (95% confidence interval, 0.4–0.85) in those reporting frequent sporting activity, compared with those reporting none. This effect of frequent sporting activity on the prevalence of hyperglycemia was independent of body mass index, occupational status, smoking status, systolic blood pressure, use of antihypertensive therapy, and time of sampling.


Frequent sporting activity in middle-aged men is associated with a reduced prevalence of hyperglycemia and may reduce the risk of NIDDM.

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