A new study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh illustrates that exercise can do more to prevent diabetes than drugs.
The study examined the impact of type II diabetes medications compared with long-term fitness habits, asserting that regularly walking and working to lose weight makes an important difference.
Researchers found that by decreasing body weight by 7 percent and walking 150 minutes weekly, patients also decreased their risk of developing diabetes.
What is Type II Diabetes?
Type II diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, which is an effect of the body’s inability to make enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Overall, sedentary behavior is a major risk factor for chronic illness. Known causes of diabetes include weight gain, poor diet and inactivity.
About The Study
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, tracked the health of patients involved in the Diabetes Prevention Program more than a decade ago. A percentage of the participants continued to exercise more than the average person, whereas some participants and the average person were similarly inactive.
Through the long-term data analysis, researchers discovered that “lifestyle intervention was effective at increasing moderate physical activity more than 10 years into the [prevention program] follow-up.” The program achieved “long-term improvements in moderate activity levels.”
Data came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and test results from an ActiGraph accelerometer, which tracks exercise levels. The method was used in place of merely analyzing self-reported questionnaires.
“What we ended up finding from accelerometer data was some evidence of a lasting effect, as the [prevention program] participants had higher physical activity levels than the general population,” study author Bonny Rockette-Wagner, University of Pittsburgh, told Post Gazette News.
Modest weight loss and regular exercise is associated with 58 percent higher rate of success in preventing diabetes when compared to metformin, the standard treatment for type II, which has a 31 percent success rate.
The Diabetes Prevention Program study proved exercise and weight loss prevented diabetes better than drugs. The long-term studies are considered to be a rare representation of diabetes prevention research.
As people age, the amount of physical activity decreases. In addition, research shows that people with diabetes are less likely to incorporate physical activity.
Researchers noted that the main obstacle to lifestyle changes as a preventative diabetes treatment is the ability to persuade patients that fitness makes a tangible difference. The research illustrates that active habits prevent type II diabetes by limiting known causes of illness.
With scientists confirming that exercise and weight loss are more effective than preventing diabetes, it becomes more essential than ever to get out and engage your body.
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