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One more reason to exercise regularly
May 20th, 2014
03:44 PM ET

One more reason to exercise regularly

Approximately 18% of women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy - meaning they're up to seven times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

The good news is that even if you have gestational diabetes, exercise can help.

A new study published this week in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine finds that every two hours of moderate activity (like walking or gardening) each week reduces a women's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 9%. Women who added 2.5 hours or more of moderate activity to their weekly regimen reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by 47%.

Some background

Approximately a third of all women who have been pregnant and have type 2 diabetes were once diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and occurs when the body doesn't produce the necessary insulin to help process glucose into energy.

Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman who has never had diabetes develops high blood sugar levels as pregnancy hormones block her body from properly using insulin.

The study

The study evaluated 116,671 people between the ages of 25 and 44 over 10 years. All of the women were part of the Nurses Health Study, one of the largest surveys of women's health, and were given questionnaires twice a year.

"We found that women who increased physical activity after gestational diabetes had the lowest risk" of developing type 2 diabetes, said study author Dr. Cuilin Zhang, an epidemiologist with the National Insitutues of Health. Zhang explained that in this study researchers looked specifically at changes in lifestyle habit after pregnancy.

"It's confirmation of what we know, but  it is good to know," said American Diabetes Association Chief Science and Medical Officer Dr. Robert Ratner, who was not involved in the study.

Takeaway

The federal government recommends at least 2.5 hours or exercise a week for adults.

Ratner acknowledged that for many women with children actually getting out to the gym can sometimes be difficult.

"It's easy to say get to the gym three times a week, but if you have a 1.5 year old, is that realistic? "

Ratner pointed out that there are many interventions, including the medication metformin, that can help pregnant women manage their diabetes risk.

"The important thing," said Ratner, "is that these women have options."


soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. renaldorae

    you dont have to go to the gym just walk daily 2 miles or 45 min per day your could push a stroller or oce the child is walking good they can join you and thats free no gym membership needed. start slow 10 -20 min at first depending on your fitness level, after a about a month step that up to 45 min then to 1 hr and if you do that daily, i mean every day when you first wake up if possible you will see tremendous improvement in less than 3 months.

    June 5, 2014 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Ashley Marley

    Are you interested in cutting craving after baby visit http://shedpounds.com/articles/2013-10-24/cut-cravings-after-baby

    June 26, 2014 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ashley Marley

    Some women become very lazy during pregnancy but statistics have proven that exercise makes the pregnancy easier and also the delivery ....for more information on diet and exercise before and after baby visit http://shedpounds.com/articles/2014-04-09/workout-while-the-kids-play

    July 1, 2014 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.