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Exercise in Early Adolescence May Ward Off Diabetes Later On

Findings shows insulin resistance peaks in early adolescence, so exercise crucial during this period

FRIDAY, Aug. 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) — High levels of physical activity during the early teen years might reduce the risk of diabetes later in life, according to a new study published online Aug. 6 in Diabetologia.

The research included 300 children who were checked for insulin resistance every year from ages 9 to 16. The researchers found that at the age of 13, insulin resistance was 17 percent lower among those who were more physically active compared to those who were less active. However, this difference decreased over the next three years and was gone by age 16.

“Insulin resistance rises dramatically from age 9 to 13 years, then falls to the same extent until age 16. Our study found that physical activity reduced this early-teenage peak in insulin resistance but had no impact at age 16,” study author Brad Metcalf, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in physical activity and health at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, said in a university news release.

“A reduction in this peak could lessen the demand on the cells that produce insulin during this critical period, which may preserve them for longer in later life,” Metcalf added. “We are not saying that 16-year-olds don’t need to be physically active, there are other health benefits to be gained from being active at all ages.”

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