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Can Exercise Prevent Type 2 Diabetes? Genes May Be Key

Some obese people have DNA that makes it tougher for workouts to fend off the disease

Can Exercise Prevent Type 2 Diabetes? Genes May Be Key

TUESDAY, Sept. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For millions of overweight Americans, regular exercise remains a prime weapon against excess weight and the threat of type 2 diabetes. However, a new study suggests that the battle may be tougher for some than for others, depending on their genes. The study was published online Sept. 29 in Diabetologia.

Researchers led by Yann Klimentidis, M.D., of the University of Arizona in Tucson, examined interactions between physical activity, genetics, and diabetes risk in 8,101 white Americans, including 821 with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found that exercise provided less protection against diabetes in people at high genetic risk for diabetes and insulin resistance. While certain diabetes-linked genes seemed to blunt the benefits of exercise for both men and women, women seemed most affected, the Arizona team noted.

"While physical activity generally promotes good health, it may not be as effective for everyone when it comes to preventing or treating type 2 diabetes," one expert, Ruth Loos, M.D., director of the Genetics of Obesity and Related Metabolic Traits Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told HealthDay. "This study suggests that especially those who are genetically prone [to diabetes] may need additional preventive measures and more targeted treatment." Loos is associate editor at Diabetologia and helped edit the paper.

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