Leisure Exercise Beneficial Too Says LSU AgCenter Nutritionist

Heli J. Roy  |  7/29/2005 2:59:37 AM

News You Can Use For August 2005

Studies suggest that moderate-to-vigorous leisure-time physical activity protects against the development of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. In the past, structured exercise programs have been emphasized for reducing diabetes risk, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Heli Roy.

Physical active individuals have lower body weight and less abdominal fat than inactive individuals. They also have improved insulin resistance, glucose tolerance, better lipid profile and decreased blood pressure. Leisure time physical activity can help make these benefits possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine have jointly published recommendations that adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week.

Recently, both the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study and the Diabetes Prevention Program in the United States found that multiple relatively modest lifestyle changes, including weight loss, dietary changes and increased leisure activity reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance. Dr. Timo Lakka from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and a group of Finnish researchers conducted the study.

Some 487 overweight or obese individuals ages 40–65 years with impaired glucose tolerance were studied for up to four years in intervention and control groups. The intervention group was given detailed advice on how to achieve moderate-to-vigorous exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, reduce body weight by 5 percent, consume no more than 30 percent of energy as fat, keep saturated fat to10 percent of total energy and increase in fiber intake to at least 15 g/1,000 kcal.

Endurance exercise (such as swimming, bicycling, jogging, aerobic ball games, skiing) was encouraged. Resistance training was offered to the intervention group. Walking and lifestyle physical activity were also recommended. The control group was given general verbal and written information about exercise and diet at baseline and at subsequent annual visits, but no specific individualized programs were offered.

During the four-year follow-up, moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity increased in the intervention group. The intervention group achieved higher level of moderate-to-vigorous activity. When the participants were divided into thirds by leisure physical activity levels, those who had the highest level of leisure activity were 80 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those with lower activity.

Participants reporting a change from the moderate-to-vigorous activity to the upper third were 49 percent to 65 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those in the lower third. An increase in walking for exercise also decreased the risk of diabetes.

Those who increased the intensity of walking for exercise had a 48 percent lower risk of diabetes. Increased lifestyle physical activity also seemed to decrease the risk of diabetes. Men and women whose average levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were in compliance with current recommendations, about 2.5 hours per week, were 44 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those remaining sedentary. Changes in nonstrenuous, structured leisure activity other than walking were not associated with diabetes risk.

For information on related nutrition, family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link at the LSU AgCenter Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/

Source: Heli Roy (225) 578-3329, or HRoy@agcenter.lsu.edu

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