WASHINGTON, DC (June 12, 2013)A fifteen minute walk after each meal appears to help older people regulate blood sugar levels and could reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS). The study, published today in Diabetes Care, found that three short post-meal walks were as effective at reducing blood sugar over 24 hours as a 45-minute walk of the same easy-to-moderate pace. Moreover, post-meal walking was significantly more effective than a sustained walk at lowering blood sugar for up to three hours following the evening meal.
"These findings are good news for people in their 70s and 80s who may feel more capable of engaging in intermittent physical activity on a daily basis, especially if the short walks can be combined with running errands or walking the dog," said lead study author Loretta DiPietro, PhD, MPH, chair of the SPHHS Department of Exercise Science. "The muscle contractions connected with short walks were immediately effective in blunting the potentially damaging elevations in post-meal blood sugar commonly observed in older people," she said.
The findings, if confirmed by additional research, could lead to an inexpensive preventive strategy for a pre-diabetic condition that can over time develop into frank type 2 diabetes, she said. An estimated 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes but most have no idea they are at risk. Other studies have suggested weight loss and exercise can prevent type 2 diabetes but this is the first study to examine short bouts of physical activity timed around the risky period following mealsa time when blood sugar can rise rapidly and potentially cause damage.
DiPietro and her colleagues recruited ten people age 60 and older who were otherwise healthy but at risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to higher-than-normal levels of fasting blood sugar and to i
|Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services