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Exercise Can Help Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Teens

Whether lean or obese, study finds aerobic exercise improves insulin sensitivity

MONDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic teenagers who engage in moderate aerobic exercise may not lose weight, but they can improve their overall fitness and increase both peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity, according to a study in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Gert-Jan van der Heijden, M.D., of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues conducted a study of 29 post-pubertal adolescents, of whom 14 were lean and 15 were obese. Both groups undertook a 12-week program of aerobic exercise.

The researchers note that neither group lost weight, but the participants who attended approximately 90 percent of the sessions had about a 15 percent improvement in fitness, and both groups saw increases in peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity. For the lean group, peripheral sensitivity increased by 35 percent and hepatic sensitivity by 19 percent, and the improvements for obese subjects were 59 and 23 percent, respectively.

"Insulin resistance is a major component of obesity and its comorbidities such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. It is, therefore, of great importance, that this program that was of moderate intensity and well accepted by both lean and obese participants," the authors write. "This program could be a useful tool to prevent obesity-related illness in Hispanic adolescents."

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