A new study published in the journal 'Radiology' highlights the importance of exercise for people with type 2 diabetes. There is mounting evidence that visceral fat gathered in the abdominal area can be more harmful than fat elsewhere.
"To gather more information on this relationship, researchers from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands turned to detailed MRI images to study 12 middle-aged diabetic patients both before and after they participated in a six month program of moderate-intensity exercise. The volunteers exercised for 3.5 hours to 6 hours a week, and participated in two endurance and two resistance training sessions, finishing up with a 12-day hiking expedition. Throughout the study, however, they were told not to change their diet and eating habits. After the training, the researchers found that the participants' heart functions remained relatively unchanged, but the second round of MRI scans revealed significant decreases in the volume of fat that surrounded the heart and lungs as well as in their abdominal area."
The results of the study showed that the participating diabetic patients were able to reduce visceral fat solely through exercise and without changes in their diets, which might lower their risk of heart disease.
The data also gave insight into how fat that accumulates in the abdomen and the liver might release certain hormones that can negatively impact the body's efficiency to break down calories.
"In a statement, the study's senior author, Dr. Hildo J. Lamb from the Department of Radiology at Leiden University Medical Center said, "The liver plays a central role in regulating total body fat distribution. Therefore, reduction of liver fat content and visceral fat volume by physical exercise are very important to reverse the adverse effects of lipid accumulation elsewhere, such as the heart and arterial vessel wall."
Find out more details about the study here.