Increasing step count may lower diabetes risk

Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be a complicated process. In addition to making improvements in diet, a new study has found that simply taking a few extra steps each day can dramatically cut the chances of developing the metabolic condition.

Experts have recommended that individuals take anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 steps each day in order to maintain a healthy body weight. However, few people meet these guidelines, which is one factor contributing to the rising obesity and diabetes rates.

For the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, researchers from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia gave physical examinations to a group of nearly 600 adult participants. The team measured body mass index, hip to waist ratio and insulin sensitivity. The participants were also given pedometers, which measure the daily number of steps taken.

After a period of five years, the researchers conducted another physical examination with the participants and compared the results to readings from the pedometers. They found that the participants who took the most steps during the study had the healthiest measures of metabolic function. Furthermore, these individuals had the lowest type 2 diabetes risk.

The investigation also showed that participants who increased their step count during the course of the study period were also able to make improvements in their overall condition that lowered their diabetes risk.

"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," the researchers concluded in their report.  
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