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Diabetes risk cut by exercise

18th September 2008

A new study has suggested that exercise could help women at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes increase their chances of staying healthy.

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The research from experts at Glasgow University found that insulin resistance in "high risk" women dropped by 22% after seven weeks of an exercise programme.

The study for the British Heart Foundation focussed on women between the age of 20 and 45 in sedentary jobs who did less than one hour of physical activity each week.

Thirty four volunteers who had at least one type 2 diabetic parent were tested against 36 volunteers whose parents had no history of the condition.

All undertook an exercise training programme of three 30 minute exercise sessions in the first week, such as running, using a rowing machine, aerobics and cycling, working up to five 60 minute sessions in weeks six and seven.

At the outset of the study the offspring of diabetics had higher insulin resistance, with insulin resistance considered to be the most important biological risk factor for developing diabetes.

Study team head Dr Jason Gill said: "The offspring of people with type 2 diabetes are about three times more likely to develop the disease than those with no family history of the disease."

Study leader Dr Nick Barwell added that the same exercise programme reduced insulin resistance to a vastly greater extent in the women with diabetic parents.

He said: "Our research shows that developing diabetes is not inevitable for people with a family history of diabetes."

 

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