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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Aug;24 Suppl 1:57-65. doi: 10.1111/sms.12258.

Positive effects of football on fitness, lipid profile, and insulin resistance in Brazilian patients with type 2 diabetes.

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Laboratory of Medical Investigation, LIM-18, Endocrinology Division, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


We evaluated the effects of recreational football training combined with calorie-restricted diet (football + diet) vs calorie-restricted diet alone (diet) on aerobic fitness, lipid profile, and insulin resistance indicators in type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients. Forty-four T2D patients aged 48-68 years (27 females, 17 males) were randomly allocated to the football + diet group (FDG; n = 22) or to the diet group (DG; n = 22), of whom 19 FDG and 15 DG subjects completed the study. The football training was performed for 3 × 40 min/week for 12 weeks. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scanning, treadmill testing, and fasting blood samplings were performed pre and post-intervention. After 12 weeks, maximal oxygen uptake (VO₂max ) was elevated (P < 0.05) by 10 ± 4% in FDG but not in DG (-3 ± 4%, P < 0.05). After 12 weeks, reductions in blood triglycerides (0.4 ± 0.1 mmol/L), total cholesterol (0.6 ± 0.2 mmol/L), low-density lipoprotein, and very low-density lipoprotein levels were observed only in FDG. Fat mass decreased (P < 0.05) by 3.4 ± 0.4 kg in FDG and 3.7 ± 0.4 kg in DG. The lower (P < 0.05) glucagon and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance indicated an improvement in insulin sensitivity in FDG. In conclusion, football combined with restricted diet was effective in enhancing VO₂max , reducing total cholesterol and triglycerides, and increasing insulin sensitivity, potentially providing better tools for the prevention of T2D complications than diet alone.


Soccer; VO2max; cholesterol; dietary counseling; insulin sensitivity; intermittent exercise; lifestyle program; triglycerides

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