Modest levels of physical activity are associated with a lower incidence of diabetes in a population with a high rate of obesity: the strong heart family study

Diabetes Care. 2012 Aug;35(8):1743-5. doi: 10.2337/dc11-2321. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


Objective: To examine the association of objectively measured participation in low levels of physical activity with incident type 2 diabetes.

Research design and methods: The study population included participants free of diabetes and cardiovascular disease at baseline (n = 1,826) who participated in a follow-up examination. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine the association of steps per day with incident diabetes.

Results: During 5 years of follow-up, 243 incident cases of diabetes were identified. When compared with participants in the lowest quartile of steps per day (<3,500 steps), participants in the upper three quartiles of steps per day had lower odds for diabetes, consistent with a threshold effect. Contrasting the three upper quartiles with the lowest quartile, the odds ratio of diabetes was 0.71 (95% CI 0.51-0.98).

Conclusions: Modest levels of physical activity are associated with a lower risk of incident diabetes, compared with lower levels of activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Young Adult