Physical Exercise and Glucose Tolerance in Nigerian University Students


  • EO Taiwo
  • LO Thanni



Bicycle Ergometer, Exercise, Glucose tolerance, Oral Glucose Tolerance Test


Background: Studying post-prandial fluctuations in blood glucose has high physiological and clinical relevance. Physical exercise is known to influence this fluctuation.

Objectives: To determine the gender difference in glucose tolerance following physical exercise in a population of university students.

Methods: A total of 146 students were randomly selected from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sagamu, Ogun State, southwest Nigeria. Following overnight fast, Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) was carried out. Pre-exercise, fasting blood glucose (FBG) was measured at 0 mins, and after oral glucose load of 75 grams at 30 minutes intervals for 2 hours. The physical exercise involved cycling using a bicycle ergometer for an hour. Thereafter, OGTT was conducted again 1 hour post-exercise.

Results: The ages of the subjects ranged from 20 years to 49 years. There were 73 (50.0%) females. The mean Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23.5±1.1 kg/m2 for females was comparable to 22.8±0.3 kg/m2 for the males (p = 0.571). Seven (9.6%) females were obese compared to 2 (2.7%) males. The mean post-prandial blood glucose increased from 71.6±1.6 mg/dl to 90.8±1.8 mg/dl after oral glucose load and thereafter to 88.0±4.2 mg/dl at 120 minutes among males. The post-exercise blood glucose patterns included a significant reduction in the mean FBS for males compared to females (64.5±1.9 mg/dl vs. 71.7±1.9 mg/dl; p = 0.001)

Conclusions: Glucose tolerance with exercise is better in females than males. The clinical importance of physical exercise lies in its effect on glucose tolerance.


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Original Research