Diabetes Care has published a new study that highlights a simple lifestyle change people can take to lower their risk of developing diabetes. This new research shows that people at high risk of developing diabetes can lower their risk dramatically if they walk regularly.
Endocrinologists and other health care professionals have been concerned with the prognosis for people who don’t get much exercise. As people are becoming more dependent on technology, they are less likely to make sure they fit enough exercise into their lives. The researchers wanted to see how even small amounts of exercise can reduce the chance that they will develop diabetes.
Previous studies have shown that people who walk more are at a lower risk of developing diabetes. However, these studies didn’t show any hard quantitative statistics on how many steps people should take each day to reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
This study was led byÂ Amanda Fretts, a doctoral student studying epidemiology at the University of Washington. Fretts asked nearly 2,000 people to wear a pedometer so they could track how much they walked every day.
Medical experts typically suggest people walk at least 10,000 steps every day. About a quarter of the people in the study walked fewer than 3,500 steps. About half of the people in the study failed to take more than 7,500 steps.
Fretts and her colleagues made two key observations:
- 17% of the subjects who walked fewer than 3,500 steps a day developed diabetes. Only 12% of the people who walked more than that developed the disease.
- The subjects who walked the most were nearly 30% less likely to contract diabetes than those who walked the least.
[box type=”note”]Fretts said the results weren’t surprising, as they were corroborated by previous studies. She presented a couple of theories to suggest why people may be less likely to develop diabetes if they walk more. Walking could be linked with a lower body-mass index. It could also reduce inflammation and help keep glucose levels in check.[/box]
However, Fretts and her colleauges warn that the study doesn’t necessarily prove that walking more will reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes. Additional research will be needed to make a more conclusive claim.