Changes in body fat distribution and fitness are associated with changes in hemoglobin A1c after 9 months of exercise training: results from the HART-D study

Diabetes Care. 2013 Sep;36(9):2843-9. doi: 10.2337/dc12-2428. Epub 2013 May 13.


Objective: To investigate the associations between changes in body composition and fitness after exercise training and changes in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Research design and methods: Participants (n = 201) were randomized to aerobic, resistance, or combined training for 9 months. HbA1c, waist circumference, total and trunk fat mass, appendicular fat mass, lean body mass, isokinetic leg muscle strength, peak O2 uptake, and estimated METs were assessed at baseline and follow-up. Change in HbA1c was evaluated across quartiles of change in body composition and fitness.

Results: Change in HbA1c was associated with changes in body weight (r = 0.13, P = 0.052), waist circumference (r = 0.17, P = 0.013), trunk fat mass (r = 0.19, P = 0.005), and estimated METs (r = -0.16, P = 0.023). There was a trend in change in HbA1c across quartiles of waist circumference (P = 0.011), trunk fat mass (P = 0.020), and estimated METs (P = 0.011). Participants with increased estimated METs and reduced trunk fat mass had greater odds of having reduced HbA1c after training (3.48, 1.46-8.31). Finally, participants with increased estimated METs and reduced waist circumference were 2.81 (1.13-6.98) times more likely to have reduced HbA1c and type 2 diabetes medication use than those without improved fitness and central adiposity.

Conclusions: In patients with type 2 diabetes, a reduction in central adiposity and increase in fitness were the most prominent predictors of the change in HbA1c in response to exercise training.

Trial registration: NCT00458133.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Waist Circumference / physiology


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A

Associated data