Get Moving to Get Away From Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes risk in women reduced with 150 minutes of exercise weekly

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Exercise is good for everyone. It is especially healthy for people who are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Getting just a few hours of exercise per week can lower an adult's risk for diabetes.

Even though staying physically active reduces the chance of getting diabetes, many women who have a high risk for the disease are not exercising enough.

"Get 150 minutes of exercise per week to lower your diabetes risk."

Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ursula E. Bauer, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), and other researchers from the CDC and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently completed a study that looked at the quality of health care that women get in order to prevent diabetes.

Among many other discoveries, the researchers found that women who are at high risk for diabetes are less likely than other women to get 150 minutes of physical activity per week, the lowest amount of exercise recommended to reduce the risk of diabetes. In fact, only about one out of four high-risk women said they exercised 150 minutes per week, compared to about one out of three women without a high risk for diabetes.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Moderate physical activities include brisk walks, easy bike rides, or light yard work.

"Exercise is so helpful in preventing disease, but I look at it differently than most," says James Crowell, fitness expert. "I think exercise is so helpful because it helps change many people's approach to their own health. Typically they get interested in working out more vigorously, they see some results, and then they add more pieces to their health such as diet and more rest. The combination of exercise, proper nutrition, and rest is a powerful defense against disease and very often exercise is the catalyst."

According to the National Institutes of Health and the CDC, people at high risk for type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk by 58 percent if they get 150 minutes of exercise per week and lose about five to seven percent of their body weight.

The unfortunate news from this recent CDC report - which looked at data from over 4,000 women - is that many women are not taking the steps to avoid diabetes.

Only 24.9 percent of high-risk women with more than a high school education spent at least 150 minutes per week exercising, compared to about 33.7 percent of women without a risk for the disease.

Only 26 percent of poor women with a risk for diabetes were getting enough exercise, compared to 43.6 percent of poor women without a risk. Among richer women, 21.9 percent of those with a risk for diabetes were getting enough exercise, compared to 29.9 percent of those without a risk.

These findings show that more needs to be done in order to encourage women at risk for diabetes to get up and get moving. Getting high-risk adults to exercise is part of the fight to slow down the growing diabetes epidemic.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 20, 2011
Last Updated:
July 25, 2011