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Beat Teen Diabetes With Exercise

One tried-and-true way for teens to beat the onset of type 2 diabetes as well as decrease the odds they may die in middle age, doesn't come in the form of a pill or a surgical procedure intended to reduce their appetites.

Exercise -- especially strength training -- works wonders, according to a study of 22 Latino teenage boys (ages 14-17). The results were particularly impressive, considering a 2000 study by the CDC found almost half of the Latino children born in 2000 may develop type 2 diabetes.

Why strength training? Researchers believed, rightly, teens would stick more closely to a resistance training regimen than aerobic exercise, and they did. Teen patients exercised twice a week for some four months under the guidance of personal trainers.

The results were obvious among the exercisers versus the control group. Their percentage of body fat decreased greatly just as their lean muscle weight rose. Moreover, a not-so-surprising 91 percent of the teens who lifted weights significantly improved their sensitivity to insulin.

If you believe helping your teen beat diabetes means an expensive membership to the gym, think again. Scientists at the University of Southern California are working on an exercise routine teens can do at home with hand weights and exercise bands.

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 38, No. 7, July 2006

EurekAlert July 25, 2006

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