More Canadian adolescents are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than ever before and lack of physical activity may be the root cause

Study uncovers new insight for improving the diabetes risk profile in obese teens

MONTRÉAL, Oct. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Long considered an adult-only disease, type 2 diabetes is becoming more prevalent among children. Children as young as eight years of age are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the incidence appears to be increasing rapidly. The development of type 2 diabetes is closely related to obesity; however other risk factors include family history, ethnic background, and physical inactivity.

Dr. Jonathan McGavock, a Canadian Diabetes Association past scholar and research scientist at the Manitoba Institute of Child Health, along with his colleagues, will present an oral abstract on Physical Activity Intensity and Adiposity in Obese Youth: The P.O.W.E.R Trial on Sat., Oct. 19 at the 16th annual Canadian Diabetes Association and Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism Professional Conference and Annual Meetings in Montréal.

The P.O.W.E.R. Trial identifies the effects of vigorous versus moderate intensity exercise training on obese youth and their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This trial was conducted to better understand what type of physical activity will help prevent obese children from developing type 2 diabetes.

"Physical activity plays a powerful role in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, however, little data exists to describe the role of physical activity in the prevention of type 2 diabetes in obese youth," says Dr. Jonathan McGavock. "Since health care expenditures associated with diabetes are significant, novel cost effective strategies are required to prevent early-onset type 2 diabetes and its complications in youth."

Obese youth ages 13 to 19 years old were recruited for the P.O.W.E.R Trial. The 120 selected youth were randomly placed into three groups: a vigorous physical activity group, a moderate physical activity group and a sedentary control group. Over a period of six months, physical activity programming was delivered three times weekly for 30 to 45 minutes to both the vigorous and moderate physical activity groups. Visceral adipose tissue (fat tissue around internal organs in the abdominal cavity), liver fat content, total body fat and waist circumference were measured.

The study concluded that increased physical activity, regardless of intensity, leads to fat reduction in obese youth. Vigorous physical activity was not associated with greater loss of fat tissue relative to moderate physical activity, despite the original hypothesis stating that vigorous intensity physical activity would lead to a greater reduction in fat tissue.

"These findings are important as they indicate any level of physical activity will reduce the long-term effect of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in obese youth," says Dr. McGavock. "The future goal for my work is to create much-needed objective evidence to inform public policy and clinical decision making for the role of physical activity in the prevention of type 2 diabetes in youth."

The Canadian Diabetes Association's evidence-based 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada (Guidelines) recommend anticipatory guidance promoting healthy eating, maintenance of a healthy weight and regular physical activity as part of routine pediatric care. The Guidelines also state regular targeted screening for type 2 diabetes in children at risk. It is also recommended children with type 2 diabetes receive care in consultation with an interdisciplinary pediatric diabetes health care team. Early screening, intervention and optimization of glycemic control are essential, as the onset of type 2 diabetes during childhood is associated with severe and early onset of microvascular complications. New to the Guidelines this year are recommendations that suggest people with diabetes should set specific physical activity goals. In addition, structured exercise programs supervised by qualified trainers should be implemented, when possible, for people with type 2 diabetes in order to improve glycemic control.

The P.O.W.E.R Trial was funded by the Lawson Foundation, the Cosmopolitan Foundation, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

About the Canadian Diabetes Association
Across the country, the Canadian Diabetes Association is leading the fight against diabetes by helping people with diabetes live healthy lives while we work to find a cure.  Our community-based network of supporters help us provide education and services to people living with diabetes, advocate for our cause, break ground towards a cure and translate research into practical applications.  Please visit, join us on, follow us on Twitter @DiabetesAssoc, or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

About the 16th Annual Canadian Diabetes Association and Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism Professional Conference and Annual Meetings
Diabetes clinicians, researchers and educators from across Canada and around the world will come together to share their knowledge, ideas and experiences at this year's Professional Conference and Annual Meetings from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19 in Montréal, Que. as part of Vascular 2013. Access conference news releases and real time updates at or follow conference highlights on Twitter at #cda13.

About Vascular 2013
Vascular 2013 is a unique, one-time Canadian event bringing four separate scientific meetings together under one roof: the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism Professional Conference, the Canadian Stroke Congress and the Canadian Hypertension Congress.

It is a joint initiative of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the Canadian Diabetes Association/Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Canadian Stroke Network, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Hypertension Canada.

Statements and conclusions of study authors are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect Vascular 2013 host organizations' policy or position. They make no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.


SOURCE: Canadian Diabetes Association

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Katie Ostler
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Canadian Diabetes Association
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