Content » Vol 53, Issue 3

Review article

Effect of tai chi on glycaemic control, lipid metabolism and body composition in adults with type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis and systematic review

Shuai Guo, Ying Xu, Jiawei Qin, Yannan Chen, Yue You, Jing Tao, Zhizhen Liu, Jia Huang
rehabilitation Medicine College, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, China., rehabilitation Medicine College, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fuzhou, China. E-mail: 1426027751@qq.com
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2799

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the effects of tai chi on metabolic control and body composition indicators in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis of existing literature.
Methods: Electronic resource databases were searched to collect eligible studies. Two reviewers selected studies and independently evaluated method-ological quality.
Results: Twenty-three studies were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled results showed that tai chi had significant effects in improving metabolic indices, such as fasting blood glucose (mean differ-ence (MD) = –1.04; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) –1.42 to 0.66; p < 0.01) and total cholesterol (MD = –0.50; 95% CI –0.86 to –0.13; p < 0.01) compared with conventional clinical therapy. Most in-dices did not support the use of tai chi over aerobic exercise, except for glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) (MD = –0.24; 95% CI –0.49 to 0.00; p < 0.01) and high-density lipoprotein (MD = 0.07; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.12; p < 0.01).
Conclusion: Tai chi had better effects on metabolic control and body composition indicators than clinical conventional therapy, but only on HbA1c and HDL were superior than that of aerobic exercise. The best time-window for tai chi intervention may differ with different metabolic indices.

Lay Abstract

Exercise therapy is a possible alternative and effective strategy for blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes, since drug therapy is associated with side-effects, long-term loss of efficacy, and poor adherence to lifelong treatment. A review of evidence was performed regarding the effects of tai chi on glycaemic control and other indicators in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The results indicate that tai chi not only improves metabolic control, e.g. fasting blood glucose and total cholesterol, but also improves body composition indicators, e.g. body mass index. However, benefits of tai chi over aerobic exercise were seen in only a few outcome measures. The type and methodology of studies varied widely, with discrepancies in intensity, frequency, and duration of tai chi; therefore, further high-quality research is needed in order to draw specific and accurate conclusions.

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