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The aim of this study was to investigate the association between daily life activity and risk of developing diabetes.The study population included 2924 Japanese male office workers aged 35 to 59 years who did not have IFG (fasting plasma glucose level 6.1-6.9 mmol/l), Type 2 diabetes (fasting plasma glucose level ≥7.0 mmol/l and/or medication for diabetes) or a history of cardiovascular disease, and were not receiving medication for hypertension. A 1-day activity record during an ordinary weekday was used to estimate daily energy expenditure. Fasting glucose levels were measured at annual health examinations performed in May from 1994 to 2001.Over a 7-year follow-up period the relative risk of IFG and Type 2 diabetes decreased with increasing daily energy expenditure after controlling for potential predictors of diabetes (p<0.001 and p=0.001 for trend respectively). The age-adjusted relative risk of IFG or Type 2 diabetes decreased with increasing energy expenditure on occupational physical activity, brisk walking, riding on vehicles (standing position) to and from work and other physical activities (all p<0.001 for trend). The association with riding on vehicles (standing position) and other physical activities remained after controlling for other potential confounders of diabetes (p=0.026 and p=0.003 for trend respectively). Results of stratified analyses by the presence or absence of different risk factors for diabetes revealed that the risk of IFG or Type 2 diabetes was inversely related to daily energy expenditure both in men at low risk of diabetes and those at high risk.Physical activity in daily life is inversely associated with the risk of developing IFG or Type 2 diabetes.