Regular walking may help prevent disease in older adults, UCSD-led study finds

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Walking regularly and at greater intensity may help prevent type 2 diabetes in people in their 70s and 80s, according to a UC San Diego-led study released Thursday that measured steps and pace. among these age groups.

The study, published in Thursday’s issue of Diabetes Care, found that the more steps a person takes, and the more strenuous they are, the lower their risk of developing diabetes.

“A key figure from our study is that for 1,000 steps per day, our results showed a 6% lower risk of diabetes in this population,” said first author Alexis C. Garduno, a third-year student at the UCSD and in San Diego State. Joint University Doctoral Program in Public Health. “This means that if the average older person took 2,000 more steps each day on top of what they were already doing, they could expect a 12% reduction in diabetes risk.”

A team of researchers analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative, which aimed to characterize physical activity and cardiovascular health in postmenopausal women.

For the study, a group of women aged 65 and over — who were undiagnosed with diabetes and who lived independently — were asked to wear a research-grade accelerometer for 24 hours a day on their right hip. for a week, a UCSD statement read . Their state of health was monitored for up to seven years.

“We wanted to understand how walking, or walking, is related to diabetes,” said John Bellettiere, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UCSD. “And, are 10,000 steps a day really necessary for people to reduce their risk of diabetes?”

According to the university, the main objective of the study was to assess the associations between the total number of steps taken per day and the development of diabetes. The secondary objective was to assess whether the intensity or cadence of steps influenced the risk of diabetes.

Of the 4,838 women in the study, 395 or 8% developed diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes each year.

“If we estimate that one-third of this population are older adults, that’s 500,000 older adults who are newly diagnosed with diabetes each year,” Bellettiere said. “If everyone increases their steps by 2,000 steps per day and our estimate of 12% turns out to be occasional, we would expect 60,000 people each year to not get diabetes as a result of this increase in steps.”

Age plays an important role in physical activity intensity levels, Bellettiere said.

“What moderate-intensity activity is for an older person is very different from what moderate-intensity activity is for a middle-aged or young adult,” he said. “People with reduced mobility don’t have to walk as far, as fast, or uphill to engage in moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity.

“When we talk about moderate-to-vigorous intensity steps, we’re talking about the kind of steps that make you breathe a little hard and make it harder to engage in a conversation,” Bellettiere said. “For the average person aged 70 to 80, just walking around the block once is moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity.”

Further trials are needed to determine the exact number of steps required for risk reduction, the researchers said.

“It’s important, even if you’ve avoided diabetes, to continue and incorporate regular walking into your daily schedule and make it a routine,” Garduno said. “It’s not enough for someone to go for a walk once a week. Our study indicates that regular walking indicates a lower risk of diabetes in older people.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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