(HealthDay) -- Eating too quickly may raise your risk of diabetes, a small, preliminary study suggests.
Researchers from Lithuania compared 234 people with type 2 diabetes and 468 people without the disease and found that those who gobble down their food were 2.5 times more likely to have diabetes than those who take their time while eating.
Study participants with diabetes also were more likely to have a higher body-mass index (a measurement of body fat based on height and weight), and to have much lower levels of education than those without diabetes, the researchers said.
The findings were set for presentation this week at the joint International Congress of Endocrinology and European Congress of Endocrinology in Florence, Italy.
"The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing globally and becoming a world pandemic," study leader Lina Radzeviciene, of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, said in a European Society of Endocrinology news release. "It appears to involve interaction between susceptible genetic backgrounds and environmental factors. It's important to identify modifiable risk factors that may help people reduce their chances of developing the disease."
Although the study found an association between eating fast and incidence of diabetes, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about diabetes risk factors.