Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Exercise key in control of type 2 diabetes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People with type 2 diabetes may go a long way in managing their condition if they take up regular exercise, a new research review shows.

Researchers found that when they combined the results from 103 studies, there was clear evidence that lifestyle changes helped people with type 2 diabetes gain better control over their blood sugar.

But while diet, exercise and medication are all vital to diabetes management, exercise alone was effective in these studies.

In fact, the review found, studies that focused only on boosting exercise levels yielded greater benefits than those that tried to change patients' diets, exercise habits and medication adherence all at once.

The findings "could mean that it is easier for people to focus on one thing at a time," lead study author Dr. Vicki Conn said in a statement. "It is easy for people to get overwhelmed when asked to make too many changes."

Conn and her colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia report the findings in the journal Diabetologia.

For their study, the researchers combined the results of 103 studies that involved a total of 10,455 adults with type 2 diabetes, a disorder in which the body cannot properly use the blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to obesity, and diet, exercise and adherence to medication are the cornerstones of managing the disease. But Conn's team found that blood sugar improvements were twice as great in studies that focused on exercise alone than in those that tried to improve diet, exercise and medication adherence.

Importantly, the researchers point out, exercise helped study participants regardless of their weight or how poor their blood sugar control had been in the past.

"The improvements from exercise," Conn said, "were equal across the board."

SOURCE: Diabetologia May 2007.



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