Healthy Bits: July 2014

By AFM Staff – July 1, 2014

Women, Activity, and Type 2 Diabetes 

Researchers have found women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) who increase their physical activity can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). GDM is glucose intolerance that develops during pregnancy; about one third of women with GDM go on to develop T2DM later in life.

Scientists used data compiled from the Nurses' Health Study II, which examined more than 4,500 women with a history of GDM and recorded information about their activity levels. The May 2014 study was published online in the JAMA Intern Med.

More than 600 women in this this group developed T2DM, and researchers were able to find a link between moderate-intensity activity and lower risks. For every 100 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, the risk of T2DM decreased by 9 percent; those who had 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical exercise had a 47 percent lower risk of T2DM. Conversely, those with more sedentary activity, such as watching TV, had a higher incidence of T2DM.

Their conclusion: "These findings suggest a hopeful message to women with a history of GDM; although they are at exceptionally high risk for T2DM, promoting an active lifestyle may lower the risk."

Study Link


Quality, Consistent Sleep a Must for Fit Kids

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital for Children produced a new study that offers compelling evidence that children who consistently had reduced sleep in early childhood went on to have increases in obesity, adiposity, or overall body fat by age 7.

Data came from in-person interviews with mothers when their children were varying ages, from six months to 7 years old. The mothers were asked how much time their children spent sleeping, both at night and in the daytime. When the children were age 7, the researchers also took measurements of height, weight, total body fat, abdominal fat, lean body mass, and waist and hip circumferences.

As part of the study, each child was assigned a "sleep score" based on the mothers' reports.

Researchers found that children with the lowest sleep scores had the highest levels of body measurements reflecting obesity and adiposity. This association was found to be consistent at all ages, so it does not seem there is a "critical period" when the interaction between sleep and weight has the greatest effect.

Study Link


Never Too Late to Start

A new study conducted by Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) and published in the May online issue of JAMA found that seniors who started an exercise program of walking and light, lower-body weight training were less likely to experience physical disability. The study began in 2010 and followed a group of men and women, ages 70 to 89, who were sedentary. One group was given a supervised exercise program; a second group was provided education. Researchers followed up every six months—and they found that they had a hard time keeping the “control” group from becoming active after receiving education. An interesting finding: the exercise group were hospitalized more often than the education group, but researchers found this was due to the exercise regimen revealing existing medical conditions rather than causing injuries.

Study Link

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