The research, conducted with teenagers, shows that a better physical fitness is linked to lower levels of insulin as well as lower resistance to it. Likewise, teenagers who are fit had controlled levels of leptin which is related to appetite and it helps in the prevention of obesity. Nowadays, obesity problems and diseases associated to diabetes are a reality amongst the population, especially in young people. To study healthy habits that mitigate this problem is the main aim of the European project entitled HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) in which researchers of the Facultad de Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte of UPM with the Universidad de Zaragoza, coordinator of the project, and the Universidad de Granada are working on.
In the framework of this project, researchers found that teenagers with higher levels of strength1 and physical activity2 have lower levels of the insulin hormone and resistance to it. These aspects are essential to control glucose and to prevent diabetes, said the Dr. David Jiménez Pavón, of the Universidad de Zaragoza and former member of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
In addition, when adolescents work out or are fit, they have controlled levels of another hormone called leptin, whose role is linked to the energy expenditure and appetite3 control.
From the research, they concluded that to do exercise is as important as having food healthy habits; this allows us to control insulin levels, which increases with bad habits4.
These results are especially relevant for adolescents who are educating their habits and they can still modify their life style. Having healthy habits will benefit them for the rest of their life.