Context: The effects of physical activity (PA) on improvement of glycemia may differ between prediabetic individuals defined by oral glucose tolerance test vs glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c).
Objective: We studied the association between PA and improvement of glycemia in individuals with prediabetes defined by glucose vs HbA1c criteria.
Design, setting, and participants: From the Whitehall II study, 957 participants with prediabetes defined by isolated impaired fasting glucose (i-IFG), isolated impaired glucose tolerance (i-IGT), or both and 457 with prediabetes defined by HbA1c were included.
Main outcome measures: The associations of PA with concomitant changes in glucose-related outcomes during 5 years of follow-up were analyzed. A recursive partitioning analysis was performed to study heterogeneity in the association between baseline PA and the probability of reversion to normoglycemia.
Results: After 5 years of follow-up, 405 (42%) individuals with glucose-defined prediabetes reverted to normal glucose tolerance (NGT). A 5-year increase in moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA was associated with improvements in insulin sensitivity and β-cell function, but PA was not generally associated with reversion to NGT. Only among women ≥50 years with i-IFG or i-IGT, higher amounts of PA were associated with higher probability of reversion to NGT. In HbA1c-defined prediabetes, only 20 individuals (4.4%) reverted to normoglycemia, and PA was not associated with improvement in glycemic markers.
Conclusions: PA may be particularly important for reversion to normoglycemia among older women with i-IFG or i-IGT. Individuals with prediabetes identified by HbA1c have a low probability of reversion to normoglycemia, and their changes in glycemia are not related to PA.
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