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Fit Tip
Lifestyle Changes Alone May Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

People who have or are at-risk of developing type 2 Diabetes may be able to reverse the illness by improving their diet and engaging in regular exercise, according to a study done by a Brigham Young University (BYU) exercise scientist.

"Seven to nine percent of Americans have type 2 Diabetes, and half don't even know it yet," said Steve Aldana, BYU professor of health and human performance. It develops later in a person"s life, usually as a result of a poor diet and lack of activity. The affliction can cause blindness, loss of limbs and ultimately death.

Aldana's study, published in the November 2 Journal of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, discusses results of a work-sponsored wellness program for medical device company B.D. Medical.

Aldana and his researchers screened employees to determine who was at-risk for or had Diabetes. Those who tested positive were asked to volunteer to participate in the year-long health program, which focused on reducing the amount of food people ate, improving the quality of that food and increasing physical activity.

"Participants ate more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, less refined carbohydrates and foods closer to their natural form," Aldana said. They were also expected to exercise any way they chose for 30 minutes each day.

By measuring blood insulin levels and running glucose tolerance tests, Aldana observed how long sugars stayed in a person"s system. Participants were screened at the beginning of the study, six months later and one year after the program started.

Aldana observed dramatic improvements at both the six-month and one-year marks. In the end, more than half the participants were no longer diabetic or at risk. Cardiovascular risk indicators like cholesterol and blood pressure decreased as well.

Reprinted with permission from IDEA Health & Fitness Assoc.

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