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Using a Pedometer Can
Reduce Diabetes Risk By Half

Using a pedometer regularly can help to cut the chance of developing diabetes by half, new research suggests.

Volunteers who used the machines to walk for just half an hour a day for a year radically reduced their chances of developing the disease.

The findings are all the more dramatic because the tests were carried out on people at high risk of developing diabetes.

More than 2.5 million people in Britain suffer from the condition, which can lead to serious complications including blindness.

Experts predict that up to four million Britons could be diabetic by 2025, in part because of the obesity crisis.

Already an estimated seven million suffer from prediabetes, in which blood sugar levels are raised.

The condition puts patients at up to fifteen times the normal risk of going on to develop full-blown diabetes.

The study tested the impact of using a pedometer on 98 people with prediabetes.

The volunteers were split into three groups, a control group given a short information leaflet about diabetes, a second group given a three hour education session on the disease, and a third who had the three hour seminar and were also given a pedometer.

Those in the pedometer group were helped to set a series of ‘steps-per-day’ targets, designed to help them walk for at least 30 minutes a day.

After a year those who used the pedometer saw their blood sugar levels fall by 15 per cent.

If continued in the long term such a fall would cut their chance of developing diabetes in half, the team behind the study estimate.

There were no significant falls in blood sugar levels in either of the two other groups.

None of the groups lost weight over the course of the experiment.

Researchers believe that increased levels of physical exercise helped those using the pedometers the body regulate blood sugar levels.

Dr Iain Frame, from Diabetes UK, which helped to fund the study, said: “By finding new ways to educate and motivate people with prediabetes we are aiming to stop the Type 2 diabetes epidemic in its tracks and prevent millions of people developing serious complications of the condition such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.”

Dr Thomas Yates, from the University of Leicester, who led the research, added: “Our study proves that using a pedometer as part of a structured education programme can really improve health outcomes for people with prediabetes.

“Using lifestyle interventions to stop people developing diabetes and its complications could save the NHS a fortune.”

January 6, 2010


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