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Walking May Prevent or Delay Diabetes

Posted Jan 22 2011 12:38am
Posted on 2011-01-20 06:00:00 in Diabetes | Exercise |
Walking May Prevent or Delay Diabetes

Those who walk more not only promote their overall physical and mental wellness, but may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes as well.   Terry Dwyer, from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (Australia), and colleagues investigated the relationship between daily step count with both adiposity and insulin sensitivity.   The team studied 592 non-diabetic adult men and women, average  age 50-51 years at the study’s start, for a five-year period.   Many participants were already overweight (57.4% of men, 36.9% of women) or obese (17.7% of men, 16.0% of women) at the outset and then gained further weight over the five year period. During the study period, most subjects became more sedentary as well, with 65% showing a decline in step counts. The researchers found that sedentary individuals who change their habits to walk an extra 2,000 steps (about 1 mile [1.6 km]) a day might expect to shave 0.16 kg/m2 off their body mass index (BMI) and boost insulin sensitivity by 2.76 units. Further, a relatively inactive person who achieves 10,000 steps (about 5 miles [8 km]) per day could expect their BMI to drop 0.83 kg/m2 and their insulin sensitivity to rise 13.85 units -- a 12.8% increase from the mean for men and 11.5% for women. Consequently, the team calculates that sedentary individuals who reach 10,000 steps (about 5 miles [8 km]) per day might improve their insulin sensitivity three-fold, as compared with increasing daily activity to 3,000 steps five days a week.  The researchers conclude that: “Among community dwelling, middle aged adults, a higher daily step count  …  was associated with better insulin sensitivity. This effect seems to be largely mediated through lower adiposity.”

T Dwyer, A-L Ponsonby, O C Ukoumunne, A Pezic, A Venn, D Dunstan, E Barr, S Blair, J Cochrane, P Zimmet, J Shaw.  “Association of change in daily step count over five years with insulin sensitivity and adiposity: population based cohort study.”  BMJ 342, 13 January 2011; doi:10.1136/bmj.c7249.


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