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Daily Dose: Exercise and Incident Diabetes in Adults With Obesity


Patient Care brings primary care clinicians a lot of medical news every day—it’s easy to miss an important study. The Daily Dose provides a concise summary of one of the website's leading stories you may not have seen.

On January 31, 2023, we reported on a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that examined the long-term effect of vigorous and moderate exercise on incident diabetes over a 10-year follow-up after a 12-month exercise intervention.

The study

A team of Chinese investigators previously conducted (between July 2021 and May 2022) a randomized controlled trial to evaluate long term effects of exercise alone on the prevention of type 2 diabetes (T2D). For the original trial researchers randomized participants with central obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease to either vigorous aerobic exercise (n=73), moderate aerobic exercise (n=73), or nonexercise control (n=74) groups.

At the end of the 12-month intervention, all participants were encouraged to continue following a healthy lifestyle and keep up with moderate intensity aerobic exercise. Investigators followed up with participants at 2-year and 10-year visits to assess the incidence of T2D as well as change in body weight, waist circumference, and metabolic risk factors. Of the original 220 study participants, 208 (94.5%) completed the 1-year exercise intervention. At the 2-year and 10-year follow-up visits, 195 (88.6%) and 179 participants (81.4%) continued with the assessment of incident diabetes, respectively.

Results showed that the risk of T2D was reduced by 49% in the vigorous aerobic exercise group and by 53% in the moderate aerobic exercise group compared with the nonexercise group.

Note from authors

"Our results are supportive of physical exercise as an effective scheme for obesity management to delay the progression of type 2 diabetes, and vigorous and moderate aerobic exercise programs could be implemented for prevention of type 2 diabetes in people with obesity."

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