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Better Health for Children with Type 1 Diabetes with Just 1,000 Extra Steps a Day

Key Message

Even a small increase in physical activity relates to better cardiovascular structure and risk factors. 


Anderson, Jemma et al. (2016). An Extra 1,000 Steps Per Day Relates to Improved Cardiovascular Health in Children With Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. Published online May 2016. doi:10.2337/dc16-0526


Low physical activity level in children with type 1 diabetes is linked with early signs of atherosclerosis and adverse cardiovascular risk. The study evaluated 90 children with type 1 diabetes (41 boys; aged 13.6 years) to determine the links between activity levels of intima-media thickness (IMT) in children with type 1 diabetes.


Researchers evaluated participants’ carotid IMT and aortic IMT, and activity levels indicated by steps per day were measured using a SenseWear Miniform Factor Armband (Body Media Inc.) worn for a minimum of 5 consecutive days, including one weekend day.

The armband was worn for 23.2 hours per day by 98% of the participants, and 55% of 88 participants took fewer than 10,000 steps a day.

Average steps per day related to mean aortic IMT (P = .005) and maximum aortic IMT (P = .007). Decreases in mean aortic IMT (P = .005) and maximum aortic IMT (P = .007) were associated with an increase in step count of 1,000 steps per day, independent of age, HbA1c, BMI z score, blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL, HDL and total cholesterol.

Higher mean aortic IMT (P = .01) and maximum aortic IMT (P = .02) were found among participants who took fewer than 10,000 steps per day.

Participants who increased their steps per day by 1,000 had a lower CV risk (P = .004), reductions in weight, systolic BP (P < .001) and diastolic BP (P = .005), and an increase in HDL cholesterol (P = .04).

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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