Weight Loss & Exercise Help Overweight Adults Retain Mobility

Overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes who lose weight and exercise regularly report nearly 50 percent fewer mobility problems, according to the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) study. “The largest and longest-running study of its kind, this research confirms how important losing weight and increasing physical activity are in the treatment of mobility-related problems among people with type 2 diabetes as they age,” said lead author Jack Rejeski. “The weight loss and physical activity goals promoted in the study are well within the reach of most Americans.”

In the study, researchers randomly assigned more than 5,000 obese and overweight participants with type 2 diabetes to receive either an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) or a Diabetes Support and Education (DSE) group. The ILI group received group and individual meetings focusing on diet and exercise. The DSE group had three meetings each year that provided social support and information on diet and exercise.

Participants were asked to rate their ability to run, lift heavy objects, climb stairs, bend, kneel, walk more than a mile, and walk a block. After four years, those in the ILI group reported 48 percent fewer mobility-related disability issues than the DSE group. Mobility is the key to independence, and decreased mobility often leads to more serious health issues, and increased health care costs. For this reason, the authors suggest that this research has implications for public health interventions.

By: Wake Forest University

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