Daily steps are low year-round and dip lower in fall/winter: Findings from a longitudinal diabetes cohort

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Abstract

Background: Higher walking levels lead to lower mortality in type 2 diabetes, but inclement weather may reduce walking. In this patient population, we conducted a longitudinal cohort study to objectively quantify seasonal variations both in walking and in two vascular risk factors associated with activity levels, hemoglobin A1C and blood pressure.Methods: Between June 2006 and July 2009, volunteer type 2 diabetes patients in Montreal, Quebec, Canada underwent two weeks of pedometer measurement up to four times over a one year follow-up period (i.e. once/season). Pedometer viewing windows were concealed (snap-on cover and tamper proof seal). A1C, blood pressure, and anthropometric parameters were also assessed. Given similarities in measures for spring/summer and fall/winter, and because not all participants completed four assessments, spring and summer values were collapsed as were fall and winter values. Mean within-individual differences (95% confidence intervals) were computed for daily steps, A1C, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, by subtracting spring/summer values from fall/winter values.Results: Among 201 participants, 166 (82.6%) underwent at least one fall/winter and one spring/summer evaluation. Approximately half were women, the mean age was 62.4 years (SD 10.8), and the mean BMI was 30.1 kg/m 2 (SD 5.7). Step counts averaged at a sedentary level in fall/winter (mean 4,901 steps/day, SD 2,464) and at a low active level in spring/summer (mean 5,659 steps/day, SD 2,611). There was a -758 (95% CI: -1,037 to -479) mean fall/winter to spring/summer within-individual difference. There were no significant differences in A1C or in anthropometric parameters. Systolic blood pressure was higher in fall/winter (mean 137 mm Hg, SD 16) than spring/summer (133 mm Hg, SD 14) with a mean difference of 4.0 mm Hg (95% CI: 2.3 to 5.7).Conclusions: Daily step counts in type 2 diabetes patients are low, dipping lower during fall/winter. In this medication-treated cohort, A1C was stable year-round but a fall/winter systolic blood pressure increase was detected. Our findings signal a need to develop strategies to help patients increase step counts year-round and prevent both reductions in step counts and increases in blood pressure during the fall and winter. © 2010 Dasgupta et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Dasgupta, K., Joseph, L., Pilote, L., Strachan, I., Sigal, R. J., & Chan, C. (2010). Daily steps are low year-round and dip lower in fall/winter: Findings from a longitudinal diabetes cohort. Cardiovascular Diabetology, 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2840-9-81

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