Obesity and Type2 Diabetes

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Increasing physical activity is widely recommended as a strategy for prevention and management of obesity and type-2 diabetes. Increasing physical activity levels in the population could have a major effect on reducing the incidence of both diseases. However, there are no definitive data to allow specific recommendations about the amount of physical activity that may be effective in the prevention and management of these diseases. The exception is that maintaining a significant weight loss seems to require about 60-90 min/ day of physical activity [19-22]. It has been suggested that far less physical activity is required to prevent weight gain and that increases in walking as small as 2,000 extra steps each day (about 15-20min or about 1.6km) can prevent the gradual weight gain seen in most of the population. The American Diabetes Association recommends 30min/day of physical activity for individuals with type-2 diabetes, which is based on recommendations from other credible groups [26] and on improvements in overall health. It is likely that the minimum effective dose of physical activity to prevent or manage obesity and type-2 diabetes will vary somewhat from person to person. However, when it comes to the prevention/treatment of obesity and type-2 diabetes, any increase in physical activity seems beneficial. The epidemiological work by Wei et al. [4] and Blair and Brodney [23] has consistently suggested that the greatest benefit of physical activity on the prevention of chronic diseases and mortality comes from getting the most sedentary individuals to make small increases in physical activity.

Strength training on a regular basis may also have a beneficial effect on glucose tolerance [8]. However, such training may not improve maximal oxygen consumption. Thus, strength training should probably be considered an adjunct rather than the primary form of training for persons with type-2 diabetes, since aerobics produces both types of benefit.

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