THE GUARDIAN – Type 2 diabetes is one of the world’s major health threats, with its prevalence rising sharply in the last three decades, according to the World Health Organization.
More than 537 million people have been diagnosed, but millions more are estimated to be in the dark about the fact they have the condition. It is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
Researchers have known for years that walking – and doing so frequently – is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Until now, though it has remained unclear what walking speed is needed to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Now a worldwide analysis of studies shows that a brisk walk or striding is better for reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes that walking at a slower pace. The pooled data analysis of the available evidence was published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Researchers found people who walked faster than 1.8 mph (3km/h) were less likely to develop the condition, while those with a speedier stride of more than 3.7mph (6km/h) lowered their risk by 39%.
While physical activity is known to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers from Imperial College London, the University of Medical Sciences in Iran and Oslo New University College in Norway wanted to figure out the optimal walking speed.
The team looked at 10 studies published between 1999 and 2022, which included follow-up periods of between three and 11 years. A total of 508,121 adult patients from across the UK, Japan and the US were included.
Compared with strolling at less than 3km/h [1.8 miles per hour], an average or normal walking speed of 3-5km/h [1.8 to 3 miles per hour] was associated with a 15% lower risk of type 2 diabetes – irrespective of the time spent walking.
The risk reduced even further with a faster pace, with a fairly brisk walk of between 5km/h and 6km/h [3 to 3.6 miles per hour] associated with a 24% lower risk.
Those who walked at a speed of higher than 6km/h [3.6 miles per hour] had a 39% lower risk of developing the condition …