Health news & notables.

In addition to its cardiovascular benefits, regular exercise also may help prevent diabetes and other chronic illnesses by reducing common risk factors, according to researchers at the University of Buffalo, New York. Researchers said physical activity carried out during leisure time - but not at work - was linked to a lower rate of insulin-resistance syndrome in adults. Both men and women who were active in their leisure hours were less likely to have insulin resistance than sedentary individuals.

A recent study found that bone density gained early through exercise stays around in later years. Researchers at the UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research in Finland reported that even after athletes cut back on competition and decreased training, the bone density they had gained earlier remained. They concluded that exercising regularly may help prevent osteoporosis later in life.

Kids improve their strength faster by lifting moderate weights with many repetitions, rather than working out with heavy weights, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. That's different from the approach recommended for adults, who build muscles most effectively by doing a few repetitions with heavy weights. The study involved 43 children, ages 5 through 11, who trained twice weekly for eight weeks in a supervised YMCA after-school program.