Background: Simple physical fitness test can be a useful potential predictor of type 2 diabetes (T2DM). We examined the association between performances on simple physical fitness tests and the incidence of T2DM. Methods: This longitudinal study was conducted in 21,802 nondiabetic Japanese (6,649 women) aged 20 to 92 years, who underwent all physical fitness tests at baseline (April 2001 to March 2002). From April 2001 to March 2008, physical fitness tests, including grip strength, vertical jump, single-leg balance with eyes closed, forward bending, whole-body reaction time, and supine legs-up, were performed every year. Participants had physical fitness tests at least two times during the period. T2DM was also annually determined based on fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, and self-reported diabetes during the period. Discrete-time logit models were used to examine the influence of the serial level of each physical fitness test on the incidence of T2DM. Results: During the entire study period, 972 participants developed diabetes. Lower relative grip strength (grip strength=body weight) and single-leg balance performance were associated with a higher incidence of T2DM. For relative grip strength, as compared with the fourth quartile group, the odds ratios for other groups ranged from 1.16 to 1.56 (P for trend < 0.001). For single-leg balance, the odds ratios ranged from 1.03 to 1.49 (P for trend < 0.001). Conclusion: The performance of a simple single-leg balance test as well as that of a grip strength test were negatively associated with the risk of T2DM among Japanese.
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