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I've heard from many people that physical exercise controls or prevents diabetes. Is there any studies that confirm or deny this?

Does physical exercise control diabetes?

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    It is always necessary to distinguish strongly between Type I (sometimes known as "juvenile onset") and Type II (sometimes known as "adult onset") diabetes, as they are distinct diseases which both manifest a similar symptom. Among type II patients it is also necessary to distinguish how severe their disease in a lot of cases as Type II is not a all or nothing thing but a continuum. Dec 18, 2011 at 17:23
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    This question should be edited to explicitly restrict it to "type-2" diabetes. (It's really unfortunate that the term "diabetes" has traditionally been used to refer to two completely different disorders. It's caused so much confusion and misunderstanding.) Aug 7 at 14:48

2 Answers 2

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Yes, physical activity both prevents and treats Type 2 diabetes.

Eriksson, K.; Lindgärde, F.
Prevention of Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus by diet and physical exercise The 6-year Malmö feasibility study
Diabetologia Volume: 34; Issue: 12; 1991-12-01
Doi: 10.1007/BF00400196

We conclude that long-term intervention in the form of diet and physical exercise is feasible even on a large scale, and that substantial metabolic improvement can be achieved which may contribute to prevent or postpone manifest diabetes.

Helmrich, Susan P.; Ragland, David R.; Leung, Rita W.; Paffenbarger, Ralph S.
Physical Activity and Reduced Occurrence of Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
New England Journal of Medicine; 1991/07/18
DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199107183250302

Conclusions.

Increased physical activity is effective in preventing NIDDM, and the protective benefit is especially pronounced in persons at the highest risk for the disease.

Ronald J. Sigal; Glen P. Kenny; David H. Wasserman; Carmen Castaneda-Sceppa; Russell D. White
Physical Activity/Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes A consensus statement from the American Diabetes Association
Diabetes Care June 2006 vol. 29 no. 6 1433-1438
DOI: 10.2337/dc06-9910

Therefore, there is firm and consistent evidence that programs of increased physical activity and modest weight loss reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes in individuals with [impaired glucose tolerance].

...

Therefore, structured exercise programs had a statistically and clinically significant beneficial effect on glycemic control, and this effect was not primarily mediated by weight loss.

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    doesn't say anything. So exercise can help control some of the things that may cause diabetes, which isn't the same as stating it on its own prevents or (as claimed by OP) cures diabetes.
    – jwenting
    Dec 19, 2011 at 8:47
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    -1: the evidence you provide do NOT show that exrcise cures diabetes. That exercise can ameliorate the situation is a complete different matter.
    – nico
    Dec 19, 2011 at 11:02
  • @nico, it cures type-2 the same way that wearing socks and comfortable shoes cures blisters on one's feet. I.e. it removes the cause of the symptoms. Aug 7 at 14:51
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Yes it does

Here are a few sources :-)

According to Prevention of Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus by diet and physical exercise The 6-year Malmö feasibility study

long-term intervention in the form of diet and physical exercise is feasible even on a large scale, and that substantial metabolic improvement can be achieved which may contribute to prevent or postpone manifest diabetes.

The Center for Disease Control also confirms that exercise is related to diabetes:

What are the risk factors which increase the likelihood of developing diabetes?

  • Being physically inactive—exercising fewer than three times a week.
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  • same flaw as the other "answer" in that you confuse the side effects of exercise on preventing the onset of or ameliorating the symptoms of diabetes with curing it.
    – jwenting
    Dec 21, 2011 at 6:29
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    @jwe but the question is about preventione and control, not cure!
    – Sklivvz
    Dec 21, 2011 at 8:56
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    he changed the question, originally he claimed it could cure diabetes :)
    – jwenting
    Dec 21, 2011 at 13:28
  • @Sklivvz, it cures type-2 the same way that wearing socks and comfortable shoes cures blisters on one's feet. I.e. it removes the cause of the symptoms. Aug 7 at 14:46

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