Dr. Thomas Yates of the University of Leicester and colleagues at Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina; Durham VA Medical Center; University of Oxford; University of Glasgow; Danube University Krems in Austria; South Ostrobothnia Central Hospital in Finland; and King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia analyzed data from the NAVIGATOR trial involving 9,306 people with impaired glucose tolerance -- pre-diabetes.
Study participants -- who were recruited in 40 countries from January 2002 to January 2004 -- either had existing cardiovascular disease or at least one additional cardiovascular risk factor. People with pre-diabetes are at greater risk for stroke and heart attack.
Participants were followed up for cardiovascular events -- defined as cardiovascular death, non-fatal stroke or heart attack -- for six years on average and had their walking assessed by pedometer at baseline and 12 months. During the follow-up, 531 cardiovascular events occurred.
The findings, published in The Lancet, found those who walked 2,000 steps per day at the beginning of the study had a 10 percent lower risk of developing heart attack and stroke. Every increase of 2,000 steps taken per day lowered their risk of heart attack and stroke by 8 percent.
The researchers said 2,000 steps are about walking 20 minutes.