A new study has found that young adults who have low aerobic fitness levels are two to three times more likely to develop diabetes in middle age.
"These young adults are setting the stage for chronic disease in middle age by not being physically active and fit," said Mercedes Carnethon, lead author and assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School.
"People who have low fitness in their late teens and 20's tend to stay the same later in life or even get worse. Not many climb out of that category," Carnethon added.
The study focussed on the relationship between aerobic fitness, measured by treadmill test and development of diabetes.
Carnethon insists that unfit young adults can avoid a future with diabetes by exercising and losing weight.
"Improving your fitness through physical activity is one way you can modify your body fat," she said.
"Research shows that combining regular physical activity with a carefully balanced diet can help most people maintain a healthy body weight and lower the likelihood of developing diabetes," she added.
The study appears in journal Diabetes Care.