For Diabetics, Waist Circumference and Body Fat May Matter More Than Weight

A new study on the benefits of exercise reveals that waist size and body fat - as well as A1C levels - can drastically improve in people who are physically active, no matter what type of exercise these individuals perform.

Research has long suggested that body weight is one of the most important factors for diabetics to consider, yet the new study points to the idea that other measures should be taken into account when assessing overall health.

The research, conducted by a team at UT Southwestern Medical Center, also found that even when exercisers did not improve their cardiorespiratory fitness level (which generally improves the more a person trains) they were still able to achieve metabolic improvements.

"What we observed is that exercise improves diabetes control regardless of improvement in exercise capacity," said study co-author Dr. Jarett Berry, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern.

Strength or cardio? Take your pick

The beneficial outcomes of exercise were observed in patients who participated in sports like aerobics, weight training or a combination of cardio and resistance exercises.

Compared with a control group who did not exercise, it appeared that exercisers could achieve significant diabetes-related improvements no matter what type of activity they performed, even if they didn't increase their fitness levels.

Several studies have suggested that waist size can predict diabetes risk, including one published in 2012 that revealed anything higher than a 35-inch waist in a women or a 40-inch waist in a man was linked to greater incidence of metabolic problems.

"The study proposes that exercise-training programs for people with type 2 diabetes should measure improvements in glycemic control, waist circumference, and percentage of body fat," reported the researchers.

The study is published in the journal Diabetes Care.

Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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