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The University of Eastern Finland recently concluded a study whose findings underscore the value of dietary counseling and physical activity in preventing or slowing insulin resistance in children.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s metabolism starts becoming less sensitive to insulin, thus the inability to regulate blood sugar, leading to cell damage. It may affect the liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscles. Insulin resistance usually occurs before the onset of type 2 diabetes in children between 6 and 9 years old. The researchers published the findings in the Diabetologia journal.

In many cases especially in adults, diabetes occurs due to irregularities in insulin production by the pancreases, thus the body fails to regulate the level of blood glucose. Higher than normal blood glucose levels eventually develop into type 2 diabetes. The researchers who conducted the recent study built on previous research data whose findings revealed that physical exercise and proper diets are ideal in preventing insulin resistance in obese or overweight children.

The University of Eastern Finland’s latest study highlights the importance of dietary counseling and physical activity in preventing or slowing down insulin resistance particularly in normal-weight children. The study is known as the Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) study, monitored 500 children in Finland from 6 to 9 years old. The study subjects were divided into the intervention group and the control group.

The research findings and the mechanisms leading to insulin sensitivity improvements

Children in the intervention group received dietary counseling and had to go throughfamily-based physical exercise. Those in the control group received nutrition and physical exercise instructions, but they did not receive lifestyle counseling. The study was conducted for two years, after which the researchers found that the children in the intervention group had a 35% lower insulin resistance compared to the children in the control group.

Changes in sedentary behavior and physical activities had a definite impact on insulin resistance. Researchers attribute those changes to the fact that physical activities and dietary measures boost metabolism in the liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscles. The researchers concluded that restoring high metabolic levels in cells is the most critical step in achieving healthy insulin sensitivity. It thus underscores the dietary and physical exercise benefits.