December 15/Hobart, Tasmania/The Mercury -- A regular diet of takeaway food can lead to diabetes, especially in women, a nationwide study led by a Tasmanian researcher shows.

The study shows that, compared with women who ate takeaways once a week or less, those who ate it at least twice a week had more risk factors for diabetes.

About 2000 people aged between 26-36 filled in questionnaires, had their waists and blood pressure measured and blood samples taken.

Kylie Smith, from the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, said there was a similar but weaker effect in the men studied.

"Eating more takeaway probably contributed to getting fatter having a larger waist circumference and that in turn increased their risk of diabetes," Smith said.

She said a healthy diet and being physically active were important for weight maintenance.

"Maintaining a healthy body weight will reduce the risk of developing diabetes," Smith said.

She said it was important to limit takeaway consumption or to choose healthier options, for example salads, wholegrain sandwiches with a lot of salad and a little lean meat or low-fat cheese, or sushi without or just a little soy sauce, which is very high in salt.

"We have previously reported in this study sample that takeaway food was not just an additional item in an otherwise healthy diet, but was linked to a number of unhealthy eating behaviors, possibly by displacing healthier items from the diet," Smith said.

Hobart's Dee Graham said she ate plenty of healthy food, enjoyed salads and home-cooked meals and only occasionally had takeaways.

The study results were published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Menzies researchers Leigh Blizzard, Seana Gall and Alison Venn, Deakin University's Sarah McNaughton and Murdoch Children's Research Institute's Terry Dwyer also contributed to the study.

 From the December 15, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.