According to investigators, gestational diabetes may be an opportunity to recognize their patients at risk for future type 2 diabetes and , thus , can take steps to prevent it.

In the study , researchers looked at more than 4,500 women who had gestational diabetes, and followed them from 1991 to 2007 to determine whether to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors ( like watching TV ) , reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

At the end of the study period , 635 women developed type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that women who increased their level of physical activity , doing moderate exercise 150 minutes a week (or 75 minutes intense exercise) , had 47% less risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with women who did not change their activity level.

Conversely , the more time they spent watching television , the greater the risk of type 2 diabetes, as we read in the article “Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors Associated With Risk of Progression From Gestational Diabetes Mellitus to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus”  published May 19 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

"These findings provide a message of hope for women with a history of gestational diabetes, despite being at high risk for type 2 diabetes : Promoting an active lifestyle can reduce that risk," the researchers say in the article .

Gestational diabetes is quite common : appears between 2 and 10 percent of pregnancies. It is also a sign of an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later . Women who have had gestational diabetes have a probability of 35 to 60 percent of developing diabetes in the next 10 to 20 years , according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC).

These results are consistent with the lifestyle changes recommended to prevent type 2 diabetes. Individuals with high levels of blood sugar , at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes can reduce the risk of developing the disease in a 58 percent losing 5 to 7 percent of their weight and doing at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week , according to the CDC..