Characteristics of glycemic control in elite power and endurance athletes

Shih Wei Chou, Yu Chiang Lai, Cheng Hsiu Lai, Tung Hsiung Hsu, Yu Min Cho, Hsin Yi Ho, Shu Man Chen, Chung Fong Ho, Chia Hua Kuo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A previous study has shown that former elite power athletes exhibited significantly greater relative risk in diabetes than that of former elite endurance athletes. It is unknown whether insulin sensitivity in elite young healthy power athletes is lower than that in elite young endurance athletes. This study includes two parts, part I and part II. In the part I of this study, an oral glucose tolerance test was performed in all of the elite juvenile track athlete subjects, specializing either in short-distance racing (jSD, N = 13, aged 12.5 ± 0.37 years) or in long-distance racing (jLD, N = 13, aged 12.6 ± 0.42 years). In the part II of this study, we recruited elite adult swimmers and divided them into two groups according to their specialty in swimming race distance: long-distance (aLD, N = 10, age 20.3 ± 1.32) and short-distance groups (aSD, N = 10, age 20.2 ± 1.31). Insulin sensitivity was significantly lower in the jSD group than that in the jLD group, as indicated by the area under the curves of insulin and glucose following a 75-g oral glucose load. Fasting plasma LDL-C and total cholesterol levels in the jSD group were significantly greater than those in the jLD group. The result of the part II of this study, similar to the result of the part I, shows that insulin sensitivity in aSD swimmers was significantly lower than that in aLD swimmers. LDL-C, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels were also found higher in aSD swimmers than in those of aLD swimmers. These new findings implicate that the genetic makeup associated with exceptional power or endurance performance of elite athletes could also reflect on their metabolic characteristics; elite power athletes appear to be more insulin resistant than elite endurance athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-569
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date18 Sept 2004
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Cholesterol
  • Elite athletes
  • Glucose tolerance
  • Insulin resistance
  • LDL-C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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