Walking more often and sitting less could lower the risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.
Exercise, along with diet, is fundamental in helping people reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes, and also for people with existing diabetes to help maintain good health and avoid complications.
This new University of Leicester study asked more than 400 people at high risk of type 2 diabetes to wear an activity monitor for a week.
The participants’ movements were measured over the next seven days to see how long they spent standing, sitting and walking. The research team monitored each person’s level of insulin resistance and blood glucose level in response to drinking a sugary drink.
Speaking to Reuters Health, lead author Dr Joseph Henson said: “Stronger associations were observed for stepping, thus highlighting the continued importance of more intense physical activity.”
The findings, which have been published in the BMJ Ope, showed the participants who replaced prolonged sitting with standing had a five per cent reduction in fasting insulin levels. Those that replaced prolonged sitting time with walking showed an 11 per cent reduction.
There was a five per cent drop in those who replaced their prolonged sitting time with standing and walking showed an 11 per cent reduction.
Those who took part were aged 67, on average. Most were overweight and had a history of diabetes in the family.
The authors concluded: “Reallocating a small amount of short or prolonged sitting time with standing or stepping may improve two-hour glucose, fasting and two-hour insulin and insulin sensitivity. Findings should be confirmed through prospective and intervention research.”
The research was restricted as it was not a controlled experiment and does not show how varied levels of activity can affect type 2 diabetes risk.

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