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Physical Activity in Pre-Diabetes is Associated With Better Mental and Physical Health

Although exercise is certainly overrated when it comes to losing weight, I have often blogged about the many benefits of being physically active.

A paper just published online in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice by Lorian Taylor and several of my colleagues here at the University of Alberta, we explored the relationship between physical activity and health-related quality of life in individuals with prediabetes.

Based on a completed mailed-in questionnaire in 232 individuals with prediabetes residing in Northern Alberta, individuals with prediabetes who reported being physically active (i.e., achieving >600METmin per week; 38% of responders) reported significantly better physical and mental health. than those not achieving this recommended level of physical activity.

The study raises two important issues:

1) Why were over 60% of the individuals with prediabetes not meeting physical activity goals, especially when physical activity has been shown to significantly delay the onset of diabetes?

2) Is the association between less physical activity and poorer mental and physical health truly causal or are the poorer mental and physical health perhaps the very reasons for not being active?

This is certainly an area that deserves further study.

Toronto, ON

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Taylor LM, Spence JC, Raine K, Plotnikoff RC, Vallance JK, & Sharma AM (2010). Physical activity and health-related quality of life in individuals with prediabetes. Diabetes research and clinical practice PMID: 20727611


  1. Very interesting. Do you think that the better mental health in individuals achieving vs. not achieving recommended level of physical activity is (partly) related to higher BDNF levels?

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  2. As a Mental Health Consumer I well know that when the illness is at its worset few of us feel like moving even though we know that it is ggo for us to do so–combine that with medications tha often atribute to weight gain the cause effect line becomes very blurry. There is also a greater tendency to have Binge eating Disorders even if they are only on certain foods, there are some foods that I cannot keep in my home because of this. It is not that we do not know better it is more that we are too tired to do better until the extra weight or blood sugar is so bad that we can not ignore it any longer. Perhaps this information can help you understand how many of us feel and think–then when you add all the other factors of society to bear you can see why so many are overweight. Perhaps some of those who are obese are self medicating with food and not ready to seek mental health help. Food can be an addiction just like drugs and alcohol can be thanks for your insight

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