Among Hispanics, type 2 diabetes prevalence is about double that of non-Hispanic whites. Hispanic men and women over 55 with an average 9-year history of type-2 diabetes were reported to gain significant benefits from exercise (resistance training) in a study by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston.
The researchers asked half the volunteers to serve as controls and the other half to undergo progressive resistance training, such as weight lifting, three times a week for 16 weeks.
Before participation, the volunteers’ health was screened through an in-depth physical examination and electrocardiogram.
In the exercise group, progressive resistance training reduced the requirement for diabetes medication, reduced abdominal fat and systolic blood pressure, increased lean tissue mass, and increased muscle strength.
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 the Nutrition, Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the HNRCA.
“Our results showed that dosages of prescribed diabetes medications were reduced in 72 percent of exercisers, compared with the control group,” says Castaneda.
Moreover, by study’s end, the exercisers were closer to meeting the Surgeon General’s recommendations for physical activity.
The researchers concluded that further studies are needed to determine the optimal intensity of progressive resistance training to produce maximal benefits while ensuring safety.
Rosalie Marion Bliss, Agricultural Research Service Information Staff, USDA, ARS.
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