The effect of acute physical activity on blood glucose levels of children with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Ruti Defrin*, Z. Josefsberg, M. Karp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Physical activity has an important role in the management of insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). However, the effect of acute physical activity on blood glucose levels of children with IDDM has not been studied in depth although this type of activity is typical of children. Purpose: To evaluate the effect of acute physical activity on blood glucose, growth hormone and cortisol levels in children with IDDM with relation to their hemoglobin A1 (HbA1) level. Methods: Eleven children with IDDM performed both 20 minutes of cycling and 20 minutes of free physical exercise, on two different occasions. Blood glucose, growth hormone and cortisol levels were measured before and after each activity. HbA1 level was used to assess their metabolic control. Results: Both cycling and physical exercise induced similar elevation in growth hormone and cortisol levels. However, while cycling induced a significant decrease in glucose levels (p<0.001), physical exercise induced its increase in 6 children. The decrease in glucose level following cycling was correlated with baseline glucose levels (r=0.64) and with the duration of diabetes (r=0.87). The changes in glucose level following physical activity did not correlate with HbA1 levels. Conclusions: The effect of acute physical activity on children with IDDM probably depends on the type of activity and not its intensity or the metabolic control. It is suggested that cycling has an advantage over free exercise in reducing blood glucose levels. It is advisable that children with IDDM and their patents should be aware of the implications of acute physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-860
Number of pages5
JournalHarefuah
Volume143
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004

Keywords

  • Children
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Glucose level
  • Metabolic control
  • Physical activity

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