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Living in a walking-friendly neighborhood may protect against diabetes

Category: Diabetes

Although physical activity has long been thought to reduce individuals' risk of developing diabetes, new Canadian research indicates that simply residing in a community that is conducive to short walks helps prevent positive results from blood tests for insulin deficiency.

"Previous studies have looked at how walkable neighborhoods affect health behavior, but this is the first to look at the risk of developing a disease," said Gillian Booth, a St. Michael's Hospital endocrinologist and researcher. His organization compiled these findings alongside the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

The density of the population, the ease with which people could walk from one street for another, and attractive nearby destinations within a 10 minute walk, were the three factors researchers used to determine the walkability of areas in Toronto. Surveying data from the residents of these communities, the analysts determined that residents of walkable neighborhood had 50 percent less chance of receiving unfavorable information from diabetes blood tests.

A 2009 article from NBC pointed to several studies showing that moderate exercise reduces diabetes risk. In particular, a Nurses' Health Study indicated that breaking a sweat once a week could decrease the chance of women becoming diabetic by 30 percent.

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