Physical inactivity, Type 2 diabetes linked in new research

NEW YORK — Physical inactivity may play a key role in the development of Type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

John Thyfault, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri's departments of nutrition and exercise physiology and internal medicine, studied the relationship between low levels of physical activity and elevated levels of postprandial glucose, which refers to the spikes in blood sugar that occur after a meal. PPG, which has been associated with increased incidences of cardiovascular disease and death, also is a risk factor for the development of Type 2 diabetes. What Thyfault found while monitoring activity levels and diets of healthy and moderately active young adults, was that those people that reduced their physical activity by about half for three days saw their PPG responses to meals double.

"We now have evidence that physical activity is an important part of the daily maintenance of glucose levels," Thyfault said. "Even in the short term, reducing daily activity and ceasing regular exercise causes acute changes in the body associated with diabetes that can occur before weight gain and the development of obesity.

"This study shows that physical activity directly impacts health issues that are preventable," he concluded.

The study is being published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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