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Ethn Dis. 2008 Spring;18(2):152-6.

Resistance training differentially affects weight loss and glucose metabolism of White and African American patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.



We aimed to identify whether racial differences in body composition and glucose metabolism occur in response to exercise and determine whether aerobic and resistance exercise modalities bring about differential changes in these parameters in African Americans and White persons with type 2 diabetes.


Participants included 36 African American and 23 White men and women with type 2 diabetes who were randomly assigned to eight weeks of either resistance or aerobic exercise. Before and after this intervention, each participant underwent a series of measurements that assessed anthropometrics and glucose metabolism.


African Americans responded more favorably to resistance training than did Whites. This difference was manifested by a significant improvement in BMI (-2.57%+/-.90% vs 2.57%+/-1.09%, P<.01) and insulin resistance (-19.15%+/-9.00% vs 13.12%+/-11.86%, P<.05) in African Americans compared to Whites. When comparing exercise modalities within the races, African Americans demonstrated a preferential response to resistance training.


Eight weeks of resistance training by African Americans may have a more positive effect on weight loss and glucose metabolism than aerobic exercise training. Furthermore, the changes observed appear to be unique to African Americans, as no changes were observed in Whites after an equal amount of resistance training. When an exercise program is designed for a person with type 2 diabetes, race should be taken into consideration, and resistance exercise for African Americans may lead to increased weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity than does aerobic exercise.

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