Resistance training benefits older Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes


With diabetes rates more than doubling in the past 20 years and one million new cases diagnosed every year, clinicians and researchers are searching for ways to control the damaging effects of the illness. While adults with diabetes are often told to lose weight to benefit their health, new information from researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University suggests that resistance training, even without weight loss, may offer similar benefits.

Carmen Castaneda Sceppa, MD, PhD, who is a member of this research team and an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, specializes in studying the role of physical activity in maintenance of muscle mass and function in older adults with chronic diseases. Dr. Castaneda Sceppa and her colleagues studied a group of 60 older Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes. After 16 weeks of resistance training, the study participants showed significant improvement in their blood sugar levels, as compared to a similar group of subjects who received standard care without resistance training.

As part of this study, Dr. Castaneda Sceppa and her team measured circulating levels of a hormone called adiponectin. Having low levels of this hormone is a marker of risk for type 2 diabetes. When people with diabetes lose weight, they increase their adiponectin levels and gain better control of their blood sugar. According to Dr. Castaneda Sceppa, "our findings suggest that reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass through regular resistance training may have similar effects."

"This study, along with some of our prior research has focused on Hispanic older adults because of their especially high rates of diabetes and poor blood sugar control," says Castaneda Sceppa. "If resistance training is effective in such a high-risk population, it may offer a promising strategy for blood sugar control among other adults with diabetes, as well."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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