Health + Wellness

How Many Steps Does it Take to Walk Away From Diabetes?


Diabetes is a disease that affects Blacks at a higher rate than other races. In addition to race, being older in age and having a lack of physical activity can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. But walking regularly can help, a new study suggests.

The more steps you take — and the more intensely you walk — the lower your odds for type 2 diabetes, researchers found.

How many steps do you need to reduce your risk for diabetes?

To assess the link between walking and diabetes risk, they enrolled more than 4,800 women, 65 and older, who did not have diabetes and lived independently.

For 24 hours a day for one week, the women wore a device on their hip that recorded the number of steps taken each day. The women’s health was monitored for up to seven years, and 8% developed diabetes during that time.

“A key figure from our study is that for every 1,000 steps per day, our results showed a 6% lower diabetes risk in this population,” says study co-author Alexis Garduno, a student in the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and San Diego State University joint doctoral program in public health.

“What that means is, if the average older adult were to take 2,000 more steps every day in addition to what they were already doing, they might expect a 12% reduction in diabetes risk,” Garduno added in a UCSD news release.

The study was published Jan. 20 in the journal Diabetes Care.

“If we estimate that one-third of that population are older adults, that’s 500,000 older individuals who are newly diagnosed with diabetes every year. If all of them increase their steps by 2,000 steps per day and our 12% estimate is proven to be casual, we would expect 60,000 people each year to not get diabetes due to that increase in steps,” co-author John Bellettiere, an assistant professor of epidemiology at UCSD says.

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