Health experts explore inexpensive preventive strategies that may help to prevent the development of type-2 diabetes
Short Walks Protect Against Diabetes
With an estimated 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes but showing no signs, health experts explore inexpensive preventive strategies that may help to prevent the development of type-2 diabetes. High post-meal blood sugar is a strong determinant of excessive 24-hour glucose levels, and research suggests that people who eat a big afternoon or evening meal and often then are sedentary for the remainder of the day, are at-risk for rapid blood sugar spikes that can potentially cause damage.
Loretta DiPietro, from George Washington University School of Public Health & Health Services (Washington DC, USA), and colleagues enrolled ten men and women, ages 60 years 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 insufficient levels of physical activity. Subjects completed three randomly-ordered exercise protocols spaced four weeks apart. Each protocol comprised a 48-hour stay in a whole-room calorimeter, with the first day serving as a control period. On the second day, participants engaged in either post-meal walking for 15 minutes after each meal or 45 minutes of sustained walking performed at 10:30 in the morning or at 4:30 in the afternoon. All walking was performed on a treadmill at an easy-to-moderate pace. Participants ate standardized meals and their blood sugar levels were measured continuously over each 48 hour stay.
The researchers observed that the most effective time to go for a post-meal walk was after the evening meal. The exaggerated rise in blood sugar after this mealâ€”often the largest of the dayâ€”often lasts well into the night and early morning and this was curbed significantly as soon as the participants started to walk on the treadmill.
The study authors write that: â€œShort, intermittent bouts of post-meal walking appear to be an effective way to control postprandial hyperglycemia in older people.â€