Structured Exercise Beats Advice Only for Lowering HbA1c

Structured training better than physical activity advice alone for reducing HbA1c levels in type 2 diabetes

TUESDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Structured exercise training is associated with a reduction in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in patients with type 2 diabetes, while physical activity advice is associated with lower HbA1c only when combined with dietary advice, according to a meta-analysis published in the May 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Daniel Umpierre, from the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil, and colleagues investigated the effect of structured exercise training regimens and physical activity advice with or without dietary intervention on HbA1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. A total of 47 randomized controlled clinical trials with duration of at least 12 weeks, which were undertaken between January 1980 and February 2011, were included.

The investigators found that structured exercise training was associated with a decline in HbA1c of −0.67 percent compared to control participants. Structured aerobic exercise, structured resistance training, and both together were correlated with reductions in HbA1c compared to controls. A 0.89 percent reduction in HbA1c was seen with structured exercise with duration of more than 150 minutes per week, compared to a 0.36 percent reduction for 150 minutes or less per week. Combined physical activity advice and dietary advice was associated with decreased HbA1c (−0.58 percent) compared to controls, but physical activity advice alone was not associated with HbA1c changes.

"Structured exercise training that consists of aerobic exercise, resistance training, or both combined is associated with HbA1c reduction in patients with type 2 diabetes," the authors write. "Physical activity advice is associated with lower HbA1c, but only when combined with dietary advice."

Two of the study authors disclosed financial ties to several pharmaceutical companies.

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