THURSDAY, July 28, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing your muscle mass can help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed data from 13,644 adults who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III between 1988 and 1994. They found that for each 10 percent increase in the skeletal muscle index (SMI) -- the ratio of muscle mass to total body weight -- there was an 11 percent reduction in insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
There was also a 12 percent reduction in pre-diabetes, a condition characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, said the researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Our findings suggest that beyond focusing on losing weight to improve metabolic health, there may be a role for maintaining fitness and building muscle mass," Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, said in a UCLA news release.
"This is a welcome message for many overweight patients who experience difficulty in achieving weight loss, as any effort to get moving and keep fit should be seen as laudable and contributing to metabolic change," she added.
The study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
The U.S. National Diabetes Education Program outlines ways to prevent diabetes.