A recent study published in Diabetologia journal done by Timo A. Lakka the lead author from the Institute of Biomedicine, School of Medicine, The University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus, Finland showed that a combination of physical activity and dietary intervention attenuated the increase in insulin resistance over 2 years in a general population of predominantly normal-weight children. Increased physical activity, decreased sedentary time, and improved diet are all essential interventions for overweight, obese, and normal-weight children to prevent diabetes in children.
Decreased physical activity, increased sedentary time, unhealthy diet and consequently increased body fat content has dramatically increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in many countries among children and adolescents.
The study comprised a two year controlled trial to investigate the long-term effects of a combined physical activity and dietary intervention on fasting serum insulin, fasting plasma glucose and Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) in a general population of children, most of whom had a normal body weight.
The study involved a total of 504 children aged 6–9 years at baseline and they were allocated a combined physical activity and dietary intervention group (306 children at baseline, 261 children at 2-year follow-up) and a control group (198 children, 177 children) without blinding. The fasting insulin and blood sugar, calculated HOMA-IR assessed physical activity and sedentary time by combined heart rate and body movement monitoring, assessed dietary factors by a 4 day food record, measured body fat percentage (BF%) and lean body mass by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry were all measured.
The study showed that compared to the control group, the intervention group showed increased fasting insulin and HOMA-IR over 2 years. The combined physical activity and dietary intervention attenuated the increase in insulin resistance over 2 years in a general population of predominantly normal-weight children. This beneficial effect was partly mediated by changes in physical activity, sedentary time and diet but not changes in body composition.