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Management of exercise for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus

Michael C Riddell, PhD
Section Editor
Joseph I Wolfsdorf, MB, BCh
Deputy Editor
Alison G Hoppin, MD


Regular exercise has important health and social benefits for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and should be encouraged [1]. Exercise also presents several important challenges to diabetes management. It requires special management by patients and clinicians, using protocols based on a sound understanding of the underlying physiology, adapted to the patient's individual characteristics.

This topic review will describe the physiology of glucose homeostasis during exercise, then present a clinical approach to management of glycemic control during and after exercise in young patients with T1DM. Similar issues in adults are discussed in a separate topic review. (See "Effects of exercise in adults with diabetes mellitus".)


Engaging in regular physical activity helps to protect against a number of future health risks for young patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Exercise can help prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and reduces the risk for some forms of cancer (eg, colon, breast, prostate). Other benefits of regular exercise for patients with T1DM include [2-4]:

Increased cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory fitness

Enhanced muscle mass and strength

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 28, 2017.
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