Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Walking v diabetes+.

Dr Terry Dwyer and colleagues have found that walking cuts the risk of diabetes in a study of 600 adults in Tasmania. While the team focussed on diabetes, the results suggest a protective effect against metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

Roughly 600 adults aged around 50 in 2000 were tracked for 5 years.  At the start, most were overweight or obese and as a whole, the group gained weight over the period.

The volunteers were fitted with pedometers for 2 days in 2000. One finding was that those with higher daily step counts at this start time ended with a better body mass index (BMI), better waist to hip ratio and better insulin sensitivity, compared to those less active.

After 5 years, the group wore pedometers for another 2 days. As a whole, the group gained weight and became less active.  However, one third stayed active or increased their steps in the period, and again these were the ones with better measures on BMI, waist-hip ratio and insulin sensitivity.

The following figures are for those walking 10,000 steps, which is about 5 miles or 8km.

For a person of average height, weight dropped was just under 3kg, or about 6lbs. This corresponds to a BMI reduction of 0.83kg/metre squared. Insulin sensitivity increased by about 12%, with men doing slightly better than women.

These results are all ‘dose-dependent’. In other words, walking less still resulted in some improvements.

When the researchers factored in BMI, the differences between those active and those not disappeared, so the team attributed the improvement to a cut in body fat.

The researchers were looking at diabetes, and the improvement in insulin sensitivity would result in a considerably reduced risk of the disease.

The figures also strongly suggest there would be an improvement in other diseases linked to BMI and larger waists, including high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and more.

The impact on the waist is interesting, since fat stored around the waist is linked to adiposopathy (sick fat), and this study suggests that walking is a way to burn ‘sick’ fat preferentially to ‘healthy’ fat, reducing the waist to hip ratio.


January 17, 2011 Posted by | Accelerometer, Activity, Adiposopathy - sick fat, Aging, BMI - body mass index, CVD - cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Exercise, High blood pressure, Metabolic syndrome, Success, Waist circumference, Walking, Weight management | Leave a comment

Skinny steps, healthy steps.

Dr Peter T  Katzmarzyk fitted an accelerometer to over 1400 people to record the number of steps walked per day.  500 had metabolic syndrome (abdominal fat, high triglycerides, low good cholesterol, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose level) and 900 didn’t.

The people were split into 3 groups on steps walked per day – low (under 5,000), medium, and high (10,000 or more).

Compared to the low group, the odds of having metabolic syndrome dropped 40% in the medium group and 72% in the high group.

Each additional 1,000 steps/day led to an 8%-13% reduction in the odds of high waist circumference, low good cholesterol and high triglycerides. The benefits were somewhat higher in women than in men.

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Accelerometer, Activity, Cholesterol, Exercise, Gender, Health, High blood pressure, Metabolic syndrome, Peter T Katzmarzyk, Success, Walking | Leave a comment

Mexican-Americans the most active.

Sandra Ham reported in the American Journal of Public Health on a comparison of self-reported activity levels and activity levels measured by accelerometers.

The recommended exercise level in the US is at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week or vigorous activity for 20 minutes at least three days a week.

When participants self-reported, 36% of whites, 25% of blacks and 25% of Mexican-Americans claimed to hit the target.

When actual results were measured using accelerometers, this changed to 27% for Mexican-Americans, 20% for whites and 15% for blacks.

The findings may explain the Hispanic paradox – why many studies show that Hispanics enjoy better health outcomes than other U.S. adults with the same low socioeconomic status.

February 15, 2010 Posted by | Accelerometer, Exercise, Health, Sandra Ham, Success, Weight management | Leave a comment