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More steps taken daily means lower chance of diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Preventing diabetes might be possible by simply taking more steps every day.

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne conducted a study that found middle age adults were able to reduce body mass index, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce waist to hip ratio by taking 10,000 steps a day. The benefits of taking more steps daily were seen over a period of five years.

Compared to sedentary individuals who take the recently recommended 3,000 steps a day, the researchers estimated a three-fold improvement for increasing the recommendation to 10,000 daily steps.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, is the first to estimate the long-term benefits of simply walking more. The reduced risk of diabetes and benefits for fighting obesity associated with the popular 10,000 steps a day guideline comes from a study of 592 middle-aged adults who took part in a national study that followed the number of diabetics across Australia between 2000 and 2005.

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The participants provided detailed diet information, and answered a lifestyle questionnaire, in addition to receiving a complete health exam. The volunteers were given pedometers to use and then assessed five years later.

The gains made in reducing body mass index, lowering the chances of diabetes and reduced hip to waist ratio over the five years were independent of energy intake. The researchers also took into account alcohol intake and smoking.

The authors concluded, "These findings, confirming an independent beneficial role of higher daily step count on body mass index, waist to hip ratio, and insulin sensitivity, provide further support to promote higher physical activity levels among middle aged adults."

Increasing the number of steps taken each day from 3,000 to 10,000 was shown to have significant health benefits that occur over time. Physical activity is important for reducing the chances of chronic disease. The current study is the first to show that simply walking about more lowers diabetes risk and curbs obesity.