FRIDAY, Dec. 20, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Walking more is a
simple way for people at high risk for type 2 diabetes to greatly
reduce their risk of heart disease, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 9,300 adults with
pre-diabetes in 40 countries. People with pre-diabetes have an
increased risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and
All of the study participants were enrolled in programs meant to
increase their physical activity, shed excess pounds and cut fatty
foods from their diets. The participants' average number of steps
taken per day was recorded at the start of the programs and again
12 months later.
Amounts of walking at the start of the programs and changes in
amounts of walking over 12 months affected the participants' risk
of heart disease, according to the study, which was published Dec.
19 in the journal
For every 2,000 steps more per day a person took at the start of
the study, they had a 10 percent lower risk for heart disease in
subsequent years. And for every 2,000 steps per day increase during
the study period, the risk of heart disease fell an additional 8
percent, the researchers found.
For example, if Person A took 4,000 steps per day at the start
of the study and did not change that amount over the next year, and
Person B took 6,000 steps per day at the start of the study and
increased to 8,000 steps per day during the next year, Person B
would have an 18 percent lower risk of heart disease than Person A
by the end of the study, the researchers said.
"Our results provide novel evidence that changing physical-activity levels through simply increasing the number of steps taken can substantially reduce the risk of [heart] disease," study leader Dr. Thomas Yates, of the University of Leicester, in England, said in a journal news release.
"Importantly, these benefits are seen regardless of body weight or the starting level of activity," Yates said. "These novel findings provide the strongest evidence yet for the importance of physical activity in high-risk populations and will inform diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention programs worldwide."
Pre-diabetes affects nearly 8 percent of adults (344 million)
worldwide, and the number is projected to rise to 8.4 percent (472
million) by 2030.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more