Do This One Move…Lower Your Diabetes Risk

older man walking outside
Among people at high risk for diabetes who get very little exercise, those who manage to walk more throughout the day are less likely to actually develop the blood sugar disorder, according to a U.S. study.

Earlier studies have shown that walking more is tied to a lower risk of diabetes, but few studies have looked into precise measures of how many steps people take each day, said Amanda Fretts, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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“Our finding wasn’t surprising given that other studies have shown that even light activity is associated with a lower risk of diabetes,” Fretts wrote in an email to Reuters Health.

To get a better sense of the potential benefits of walking, Fretts and her colleagues asked more than 1,800 people to wear a pedometer for a week to tally the number of steps they typically took each day.

All of them came from native American communities in Arizona, Oklahoma and North and South Dakota that are known to have low physical activity levels and high rates of diabetes.

About a quarter of the group were considered to have very low activity, taking fewer than 3,500 steps a day, while half took fewer than 7,800 steps a day. One mile is around 2,000 steps and daily walking recommendations typically point to a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.

At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had diabetes. But after five years of follow-up, 243 people had the condition.

About 17 percent of the people in the lowest activity group developed diabetes, compared to 12 percent of the people who took more than 3,500 steps a day.

After taking into account people’s age, whether they smoked and other diabetes risk factors, Fretts’s steam determined that people who walked the most were 29 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who walked the least.

The findings don’t prove that walking more is responsible for the lower diabetes risk, but Fretts offered some possible explanations for how walking might help.

“Increased physical activity may prevent weight gain and promote weight loss, a major determinant of diabetes risk,” she said.

Physical activity also has effects on inflammation, glucose and other molecules in the body that could help lower diabetes risk. But she added that the potential benefits of moderate levels of walking are “only for those who are really inactive to begin with.”

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Funerals & Fried Chicken: Stop The Cycle

fried chicken
I am occasionally asked why I named my radio show “Funerals and Fried Chicken.”

Not long ago, I was surrounded by friends and relatives in the basement of a church, following a funeral, and the food served was fried chicken, mac n’ cheese and assorted cakes, pies and other desert items.

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Many of those present were already overweight or obese and had chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.  It struck me as inappropriate (if not rude) that we were gathered in the house of our Lord to honor the deceased, while knowingly poisoning our bodies… perhaps begetting the next funeral.

There are many other socially acceptable behaviors which involve jeopardizing our health. Some seem particularly ridiculous, so I call them Funerals and Fried Chicken Moments.

For example, a scenario discussed on my recent BlogTalkRadio show was doctors and nurses eating burgers and fries in a fast food restaurant that was located IN THE HOSPITAL LOBBY! How can this be? What’s next? Free cigarettes for all patients?  It’s particularly hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle when it seems that everywhere we go, even churches…