Better Insulin Efficiency
By Rosalie Marion
December 18, 2002
Among Hispanics, diabetes prevalence
is about double that of non-Hispanic whites. This month, researchers funded by the
Agricultural Research Service reported
results from a study involving 60 community-dwelling Latino men and women over
55 years old with an average 9-year history of type 2 diabetes.
The investigators asked half of the volunteers to serve as controls and half
to undergo progressive resistance training (PRT) such as weight lifting, three
times a week for 16 weeks. Prior to participation, volunteers' health was
screened through an in-depth physical examination and electrocardiogram.
For the exercise group, PRT reduced the requirement for diabetes medication,
reduced abdominal fat and systolic blood pressure, increased lean tissue mass
and increased muscle strength, which boosted at-home physical activity.
The findings were reported in the December issue of Diabetes Care by principal
investigator Carmen Castaneda Sceppa. She is a physician and acting director of
Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the
Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research
Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, Mass.
The results show that dosages of prescribed diabetes medications were
reduced in 72 percent of exercisers, compared with the control group. Moreover,
by study's end, the exercisers were closer to meeting the Surgeon General's
recommendations for physical activity.
The researchers concluded that appropriately prescribed and supervised,
high-intensity PRT proved feasible and effective among health-screened Hispanic
older adults with type 2 diabetes. They also concluded that further studies are
needed to determine the optimal intensity of PRT to produce maximal benefits
while ensuring safety.
Hypoglycemic symptoms were carefully monitored and volunteers were required
to follow up with their primary care physician.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.