Weight training associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

August 6, 2012

Men who do weight training regularly—for example, for 30 minutes per day, five days per week—may be able to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 34%, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of Southern Denmark researchers. And if they combine weight training and aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or running, they may be able to reduce their risk even further—up to 59%.

This is the first study to examine the role of in the prevention of type 2 . The results suggest that, because weight training appears to confer significant benefits independent of aerobic exercise, it can be a valuable alternative for people who have difficulty with the latter.

The study will be published online in Archives of Internal Medicine on August 6, 2012.

"Until now, previous studies have reported that aerobic exercise is of major importance for prevention," said lead author Anders Grøntved, visiting researcher in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and a doctoral student in exercise epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark. "But many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise. These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative to aerobic exercise for type 2 diabetes prevention."

Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern and it's on the rise. An estimated 346 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes, and diabetes-related deaths are expected to double between 2005 and 2030, according to the World Health Organization. More than 80% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The researchers, including senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, followed 32,002 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1990 to 2008. Information on how much time the men spent each week on weight training and aerobic exercise came from questionnaires they filled out every two years. The researchers adjusted for other types of physical activity, television viewing, alcohol and coffee intake, smoking, ethnicity, family history of diabetes, and a number of dietary factors. During the study period, there were 2,278 new cases of diabetes among the men followed.

The findings showed that even a modest amount of weight training may help reduce type 2 diabetes risk. The researchers categorized the men according to how much weight training they did per week—between 1 and 59 minutes, between 60 and 149 minutes, and at least 150 minutes—and found that the training reduced their type 2 diabetes risk by 12%, 25%, and 34%, respectively, compared with no weight training. Aerobic exercise is associated with significant benefits as well, the researchers found—it reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%, 31%, and 52%, respectively, for the three categories above.

The researchers also found that the combination of weight training and aerobic exercise confers the greatest benefits: Men who did more than 150 minutes of aerobics as well as at least 150 minutes of weight training per week had a 59% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Grøntved said that further research is needed to confirm the results of the study as well as to analyze whether or not the findings can be generalized to women.

"This study provides clear evidence that weight training has beneficial effects on diabetes risk over and above aerobic exercise, which are likely to be mediated through increased muscle mass and improved insulin sensitivity," said Hu. "To achieve the best results for diabetes prevention, resistance training can be incorporated with aerobic exercise."

Explore further: Researchers test a drug-exercise program designed to prevent type 2 diabetes

More information: "A Prospective Study of Weight Training and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Men," Anders Grøntved, Eric B. Rimm, Walter C. Willett, Lars B. Andersen, Frank B. Hu, Archives of Internal Medicine, online August 6, 2012. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3138

Related Stories

Researchers test a drug-exercise program designed to prevent type 2 diabetes

December 6, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Kinesiology researcher Barry Braun of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues recently reported unexpected results of a study suggesting that exercise and one of the most commonly prescribed ...

Structured exercise training associated with improved glycemic control for patients with diabetes

May 3, 2011
Implementing structured exercise training, including aerobic, resistance or both, was associated with a greater reduction in hemoglobin A1c levels (a marker of glucose control) for patients with diabetes compared to patients ...

Aerobic exercise bests resistance training at burning belly fat

August 25, 2011
Aerobic exercise is your best bet when it comes to losing that dreaded belly fat, a new study finds.

Recommended for you

Scientists discover a new way to treat type 2 diabetes

July 21, 2017
Medication currently being used to treat obesity is also proving to have significant health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes. A new study published today in Molecular Metabolism explains how this therapeutic benefit ...

Alzheimer's drug cuts hallmark inflammation related to metabolic syndrome by 25 percent

July 20, 2017
An existing Alzheimer's medication slashes inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome, a potential therapeutic intervention for a highly dangerous condition affecting 30 percent of adults in the ...

Diabetes or its precursor affects 100 million Americans

July 19, 2017
Almost one-third of the US population—100 million people—either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report Tuesday.

One virus may protect against type 1 diabetes, others may increase risk

July 11, 2017
Doctors can't predict who will develop type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the cells needed to control blood-sugar levels, requiring daily insulin injections and continual monitoring.

Diabetes complications are a risk factor for repeat hospitalizations, study shows

July 7, 2017
For patients with diabetes, one reason for hospitalization and unplanned hospital readmission is severe dysglycemia (uncontrolled hyperglycemia - high blood sugar, or hypoglycemia - low blood sugar), says new research published ...

Researchers identify promising target to protect bone in patients with diabetes

July 7, 2017
Utilizing metabolomics research techniques, NYU Dentistry researchers investigated the underlying biochemical activity and signaling within the bone marrow of hyperglycemic mice with hopes of reducing fracture risks of diabetics

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.