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OTTAWA, March 7, 2001 - A $1-million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will launch the largest clinical trial ever conducted into the relationship between exercise and type 2 diabetes. Researchers from The Ottawa Hospital, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and the University of Ottawa will study 300 people to determine the relative benefit of different types of exercise training on type 2 diabetes.

"The incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Western world is rising rapidly due to increases in obesity and sedentary behaviour," says Dr. Ronald Sigal, of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and principal investigator of this study. "Between five and eight per cent of the Canadian population has diabetes, which is among the most potent common risk factors for premature disability and mortality." Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. In contrast to type 1 diabetes, in which the body produces little or no insulin, people with type 2 diabetes produce insulin but are resistant to its action.

"As health professionals, our standard recommendation to people with type 2 diabetes has been to perform aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, or jogging. On the other hand, there is very little research on the potential benefits of resistance exercise (such as weightlifting or exercise with weight machines) in type 2 diabetes. We're hoping to provide insight into that relationship through this trial," adds Dr. Sigal.

"Complications from type 2 diabetes occur primarily in those whose glycemic control is fair or poor," says Dr. Glen Kenny, co-principal investigator in the study, and Director of the Human Performance and Environmental Medicine Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa. The investigators believe that if a particular type of exercise training improves blood sugar control and is adopted by more patients, it is likely that the morbidity (or incidence of disease) associated with type 2 diabetes will be decreased. "This is particularly true if that type of exercise training also improves quality of life, and more people are thus inclined to continue exercising in the long term," concludes Dr. Kenny.

The study has already enlisted 45 patients, but is looking to recruit another 250 in the next two to three years. People interested in participating in the study should call (613) 761-5023 for more information. This clinical trial would not have been possible without additional generous support from the Canadian Diabetes Association, which provided funds for a pilot study that set the stage for this larger trial.



Ron Vezina, Media Relations Officer, The Ottawa Hospital, 737-8460.
Bob LeDrew, Communications Officer, University of Ottawa, 562-5800 ext. 3154.

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