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People suffering from type 2 diabetes exhibited significant decrease in hepatic triglyceride content, as well as visceral abdominal and pericardial fat by following an exercise program. This could indicate a decrease in cardiovascular risk for such patients, as per a study conducted by a team at the Leiden University Medical Center, located in the Netherlands.


6 month training period

The study was conducted using 12 patients who were made to undergo a 6 month training period that included exercise of moderate intensity as well as a trekking expedition of extended exercise of moderate intensity. During the trekking expedition the exercise duration was greater than in the training period, whereas the dietary input remained the same.

On day 0, the average energy expenditure was 2965 kCal/day 6 ± 111. This was gradually increased on day 192 to 3439 kCal/day 6 ±152. At the beginning of the study, the patients’ mean hepatic TG content was 6.8 % ± 2.3 %.


The study result showed that exercise leads to changes in fat distribution in diabetic patients. The study authors have predicted that exercise would equally affect both visceral fat compartments of abdomen and fat compartments of epicardium. The study however showed that the exercise program led to a decrease in visceral abdominal fat and pericardial fat, but none in epicardial fat volume. This suggests that fat in epicardium responds differently to exercise.

The hepatic TG content also decreased to 4.6 % ±1.6 %. Study authors conjecture that liver is able to adapt to changing levels of activity by modifying biochemical pathways used in fat metabolism.

This study creates a new hope for diabetes patients to be able to regulate their condition through exercise.