Exercise, Even Without Weight Loss, Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Sedentary Obese Teens

Even without altering dietary habits or shedding weight, obese adolescents can decrease their chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes with only two hours of exercise per week.

Sep 23, 2009

Even if they don't lose weight, a moderate aerobic exercise program can improve insulin sensitivity in obese adolescents who are sedentary.

Lack of sensitivity to insulin is one of the precursors to type 2 diabetes. Because obese people are insulin-resistant, their bodies attempt to control blood sugar by making the pancreas work harder to produce even more of the hormone. Eventually, the demand on the pancreas exhausts its insulin-producing beta cells, inviting the onset of type 2.

A study conducted by the Baylor University College of Medicine set out to find if moderate exercise alone, without any changes in diet or attempts to lose weight, could increase insulin sensitivity and redistribute fat in both lean and obese adolescents.

The study tracked 29 adolescents (15 obese and 14 lean) through a 12-week program of moderate aerobic exercise. Four 30-minute workouts per week involved working on a treadmill, bicycle, or elliptical, with the goal of increasing participants' heart rate to 70 percent of their maximum capacity.

The researchers measured blood glucose and insulin levels in the adolescents before and after each exercise session. By the end of the study period, participants in both weight groups had increased insulin sensitivity.

The findings show that even without altering dietary habits or shedding weight, obese adolescents can decrease their chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes with only two hours of exercise per week-a useful tool for healthcare professionals concerned about ways to treat pre-diabetes.

The same applies to sedentary lean adolescents: Even though their lack of body fat makes them less insulin resistant than their obese peers, their lack of physical activity can create high blood sugar levels that eventually trigger destructive demands on the pancreas.

The article, "Aerobic exercise increases peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity in sedentary adolescents," will appear in the November 2009 issue of The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).

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Source: Endocrine Society Press Release

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Categories: Adolescent Boys, Adolescent Girls, Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Exercise, Fitness, Health, Insulin, Kids & Teens, Losing weight, Pre-Diabetes, Teenagers, Type 2 Issues, Weight Loss

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Posted by David Spero RN on 26 September 2009

Yes! This is important. It's the things you do, not your weight, that make the difference. If we move our bodies and reduce stress, we can reduce insulin resistance at almost any weight.

Posted by Anonymous on 28 September 2009

The fact that exercise increases insulin sensitivity in Type 1's has been known for a long time. I guess it's hardly a surprise that it has the same effect in people who are not diagnosed as diabetic.

Posted by volleyball on 1 October 2009

Another study that provides no new evidence. at least it reinforces the fact that we need to treat our bodies better all or lives and not wait until 40 to start taking care of yourself.
One nice thing about exercise, it doesn't have to be hard for other to do it, just something that pushes you. Walking a half mile may benefit one person more than a fit person running 5

Posted by Mario Manunta MD on 19 October 2009

I believe that this effect of physical activity is related to the decrease glucotoxicity and lipotoxicity, besides the reduction of factors of inflammation, as demonstrated dall'Italian Diabetes Exercise Study (I.D.E.S.)

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