• More than 6,000 participants were asked to wear an activity monitor for 10 hours or more a day
  • Researchers recorded participants’ health and lifestyle status over four years from 2018 to 2021
  • The evaluation showed that taking at least 4 miles, or 8,200 steps a day supported health benefits

Walking the equivalent of 4 miles a day reduces the risk of a number of health conditions, researchers have found.

A research team from Vanderbilt University Medical Centre have completed a four-year study which analysed the activity and health data from more than 6,000 participants who wore a wearable activity tracker for at least 10 hours a day.

The study compared the incidence of various diseases across the general population to participants in the study who wore Fitbits.

Analysis revealed walking 8,200 steps a day, the equivalent of 4 miles a day or more was found to protect against obesity, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease and major depressive disorder.

Collected data suggested that overweight individuals could reduce their risk of obesity by almost two-thirds (64%) if daily steps were increased from 6,000 to 11,000.

The research showed that as the number of steps taken increased, the risk for most conditions reduced. However, the risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes did not reduce once participants walked 8,000 to 9,000 steps a day.

Study participants ranged in age from 41 to 67 and the majority were white (84%), female (73%) and had a college degree (71%).

The authors of the study noted that while more research is needed in a more diverse and representative population, these findings support personalised lifestyle prescriptions.

Additionally, it was noted that people who wear Fitbits tend to be more active than the average adult.

The research was published in Nature Medicine.

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