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Evaluation of a resistance training program for adults with or at risk of developing diabetes: an effectiveness study in a community setting

Karl E Minges1, Glen Cormick1, Edna Unglik1 and David W Dunstan12345*

Author Affiliations

1 Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

2 The University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Cancer Prevention Research Centre, Brisbane, Australia

3 School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

4 ECU Health and Wellness Institute, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

5 Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:50  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-50

Published: 25 May 2011



To examine the effects of a community-based resistance training program (Lift for Life®) on waist circumference and functional measures in adults with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


Lift for Life is a research-to-practice initiative designed to disseminate an evidence-based resistance training program for adults with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to existing health and fitness facilities in the Australian community. A retrospective assessment was undertaken on 86 participants who had accessed the program within 4 active providers in Melbourne, Australia. The primary goal of this longitudinal study was to assess the effectiveness of a community-based resistance training program, thereby precluding a randomized, controlled study design. Waist circumference, lower body (chair sit-to-stand) and upper body (arm curl test) strength, and agility (timed up-and-go) measures were collected at baseline and repeated at 2 months (n = 86) and again at 6 months (n = 32).


Relative to baseline, there was a significant decrease in mean waist circumference (-1.9 cm, 95% CI: -2.8 to -1.0) and the timed agility test (-0.8 secs, 95% CI: -1.0 to -0.6); and significant increases in lower body (number of repetitions: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.4-3.0) and upper body (number of repetitions: 3.8, 95% CI: 3.0-4.6) strength at the completion of 8 weeks. Significant differences remained at the 16 week assessment. Pooled time series regression analyses adjusted for age and sex in the 32 participants who had complete measures at baseline and 24-week follow-up revealed significant time effects for waist circumference and functional measures, with the greatest change from baseline observed at the 24-week assessment.


These findings indicate that an evidence-based resistance training program administered in the community setting for those with or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, can lead to favorable health benefits, including reductions in central obesity and improved physical function.