In Canada diabetes affects approximately 5% of the population. The economic costs of diabetes and its attendant complications are significant, requiring approximately $1 billion a year from the health care system. Clearly the prevention and alleviation of diabetes is highly desirable. In the past few years there has been a remarkable convergence of physiologic, biochemical, molecular, and epidemiologic data, all of which indicate very strongly that exercise may be used as a therapeutic tool to prevent or alleviate non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), or Type II diabetes. The evidence for this has been reviewed. Recently the significant therapeutic role of exercise for Type II diabetics has been endorsed by the medical community. However, there is virtually no education of exercise professionals in the area of diabetes and the benefits of lifestyle changes in treating Type II diabetics. This deficiency should be remedied. For the research community, the challenge now is to translate the physiologic, biochemical, and epidemiologic knowledge into optimally effective prescriptive exercise programs for Type II diabetic men and women.