THURSDAY, Jan. 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) — More steps per day are associated with a reduced risk for incident diabetes in older adults, with a stronger association seen for moderate- to vigorous-intensity (MV-intensity) steps, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in Diabetes Care.

Alexis C. Garduno, from the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California in San Diego, and colleagues examined the associations between total steps per day and incident diabetes among 4,838 women (mean age, 78.9 years) without physician-diagnosed diabetes who were followed up to 6.9 years. Overall, 395 of the women developed diabetes.

The researchers found that participants took 3,729 steps/day on average, including 1,875 light-intensity steps and 1,854 MV-intensity steps. There was an association observed for more steps per day with a lower hazard ratio for incident diabetes. A 2,000-steps/day increment yielded a hazard ratio of 0.88 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.78 to 1.00; P = 0.046) in confounder-adjusted models. The hazard ratio was 0.90 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.80 to 1.02; P = 0.11) after further adjustment for body mass index (BMI). The steps-diabetes association was not significantly mediated by BMI. A stronger association with incident diabetes was seen for MV-intensity steps per day (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.74 to 1.00; P = 0.04) than for light-intensity steps per day (hazard ratio, 0.97; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.29; P = 0.84).

“It’s not enough for somebody to go on a walk once a week,” Garduno said in a statement. “Our study indicates that regular stepping is indicative of lower diabetes risk in older adults.”

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