7-Day Exercise Program Cuts Insulin Resistance In African-American Women

December 09, 1997

DALLAS, Dec. 9 -- After only seven days of physical activity -- walking or stationary biking -- women with high blood pressure began to reap dramatic health benefits, according to a report in this month's Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, included 12 African-American women who had high blood pressure and insulin resistance, a condition characterized by decreased ability to remove glucose, the body's main fuel, from the blood. Among African-American women, high blood pressure and insulin resistance often occur together and pose a double threat to the heart. When the body is insulin-resistant, it produces more insulin, which can damage the blood vessels and other organs; high blood pressure strains the heart and other organs, predisposing a person to heart attack and stroke.

Insulin resistance can be turned around in an amazingly short time with physical activity. The seven-day exercise program reduced insulin levels and improved insulin's ability to remove glucose from the blood, says Michael Brown, Ph.D., previously of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and now a research associate at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. "Eleven of the twelve subjects were initially insulin-resistant; However, after seven days of exercise, only six subjects remained insulin resistant even though body weight did not change," he reports.

Contact: Michael Brown (at Ann Arbor): ph.: (313) 761-5564. Reporters may call (214) 706-1173 for copies of the report.

American Heart Association

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