Nickels and dimes add up to better T2 outcomes

Walk _sm


A US study has found people with type 2 diabetes who undertake regular walking for exercise can save themselves almost a dime with every step.


The University of Michigan researchers found walking programs that use pedometers to help people with diabetes become more physically active produce out-of-pocket savings.


"In general, people with diabetes face higher health care costs than people without diabetes, since diabetes management includes medical costs from daily blood sugar monitoring equipment to regular vision and foot assessments," said researcher Mona AuYoung.


Considering the trend in rising health care costs, the research team examined step count data for 7,594 obese participants in a walking program (Walkingspree) in 2010.

The participants were offered savings of up to 20 per cent of their out-of-pocket health care expenses, providing their step counts were uploaded every 30 days and that daily averages of at least 5,000 steps were maintained for three months or more.


The researchers compared the change in total annual health care costs for the year before and after the program.


Their findings included: 

  • Every additional 100 daily steps taken by participants was related to an average individual saving of $9.07.
  • On average, individuals without diabetes experienced greater total cost reductions compared to those with diabetes or diabetes with complications.
  • Among individuals who averaged at least 5,000 daily steps, the average expected total change in annual health care costs was $872.67 for people with diabetes and $2491.88 for people with diabetes with complications.


Even though people with diabetes have greater health care costs, increasing daily steps may help slow the rate of costs increases over time.


These findings were presented at a paper session (titled "Can a Pedometer-Based Walking Program Lower Health Care Costs Among Adults with Type 2 Diabetes?") on March 31, 2017.


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