The Amish is a strange Christian sect living in America. They keep themselves to themselves, they refuse to wear anything bright or colourful, such as buttons or jewellery, and they eschew most every aspect of modern living and technology.
Two very important studies, published in 2002 and the year before, showed that the incidence of type II diabetes could be reduced by 58 per cent through diet and exercise. But was it the weight loss, which was the byproduct of the exercise and diet, that caused the risk, or was it the exercise itself?
Turning to the 30,000 Amish in America, it seems that exercise - and not weight loss - is the key to reducing the risk of diabetes. The Amish are involved in a great deal of physical activity, yet obesity is as big a problem in their community as in America generally. While obesity is generally considered to be a precursor of diabetes, the Amish seem to refute that.
While the latest study seems to prove a link between exercise and diabetes, those concerned about diet - an issue not addressed by the study - could do worse than consider the Montignac high-glycaemic-index diet.
(Source: The Lancet, 2003; 361: 87-8).