More physical activity, less sedentary behavior can improve
Children who have at least one parent with obesity can improve insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion with more physical activity and less sedentary behavior, according to a speaker.

“This study found that higher physical activity levels and lower screen time during childhood and adolescence lead to greater insulin sensitivity and lower insulin secretory requirements in late adolescence,” researchers said during a virtual presentation at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions. “These effects translated on fasting glucose levels in late adolescence, albeit not clinically meaningful.”

Researchers analyzed prospective data from the Quebec Adipose and Lifestyle Investigation in Youth Cohort. The study cohort included children aged 8 to 10 years with one or both biological parents with obesity. Participants were first evaluated at age 8 to 10 years and then again at age 10 to 12 years, and finally at age 15 to 17 years. Physical activity and sedentary time were assessed through a 7-day accelerometry record. An oral glucose tolerance test measured insulin sensitivity and secretion. Confounders included in the analysis were age, sex, pubertal stage, body fat percentage, diet quality index, energy intake, sleep duration, cardiorespiratory fitness, screen time, physical activity, family income and history of diabetes in parents.

There were 630 participants evaluated at age 8 to 10 years, 564 at age 10 to 12 years and 377 at age 15 to 17 years. Physical activity declined from age 8 to 10 years to 15 to 17 years. Sedentary time increased over time, with a steep increase from age 10 to 12 years to 15 to 17 years.

Every 10 minutes of daily physical activity at age 15 to 17 years was associated with a 4.8% decrease in second-phase insulin secretion adjusted for insulin sensitivity. Each 1 hour of screen time per day was associated with an 8.7% decrease in insulin sensitivity, a 6.9% increase in first-phase insulin secretion and a 6.5% increase in second-phase insulin secretion.

Both 10 minutes of daily physical activity and 1 hour of screen time daily were associated with slight increases in fasting glucose. However, it was noted neither association was not clinically meaningful.

“This study suggests that promoting physical activity and lowering sedentary behaviors during childhood and adolescence improves insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin secretion, and possibly 2-hour glucose in late adolescence,” researchers said. “All of this contributes to the prevention of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes among white Canadian children with parental obesity.”