Most overweight diabetics don’t know how much to exercise for weight loss, and they don’t exercise enough

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

Many overweight people with diabetes don’t exercise enough for weight loss, and they also don’t have a clear understanding of the recommended amount of exercise, according to a study reported by the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health.

The study, which looked at the exercise habits in people with diabetes, found that men with diabetes exercise more than women with diabetes, and, not surprisingly, that diabetic women who are trying to lose weight exercise more than those who aren’t. But no one in the study was exercising the recommended amount for weight loss, according to the study report, published in American Journal of Health Promotion.

“We were not surprised that, overall, people with diabetes trying to lose weight were not engaging in enough physical activity,” study co-author Gina Pariser, associate professor at Bellarmine University in Louisville, said in a press release. “This finding emphasizes the need for health care professionals to provide more detailed and individualized education on exercise.”

Kentucky ranks 17th in diabetes and fifth in obesity, according to the 2014 “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America” report. It also says that more than 80 percent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese.

“Adults who are overweight or obese are at an increased risk for developing diabetes,” the release notes. “Regular participation in physical activity may not only help reduce weight, but also help treat diabetes, and may prevent consequences associated with physical inactivity.”

Health-care professionals need to do more than just encourage their diabetic patients to exercise, the researchers say in the release.

“Education about specific amounts of physical activity is needed to achieve goals such as weight loss and blood sugar control,” Pariser said. “Plus, instruction in the use of tools to objectively measure the amount of physical activity, like pedometers, should be provided.”

This study analyzed the association between exercise and weight control in 733 adults with diabetes and 4,572 without diabetes. Participants used a device to measure their physical activity and were asked if they were trying to lose weight, trying to maintain their weight or neither trying to lose nor maintain weight. For more information about diabetes and exercise, click here.

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