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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Mar;40(3):433-43. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31815f38f1.

Reduced diabetic, hypertensive, and cholesterol medication use with walking.

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Donner Laboratory, Life Sciences Division, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.



To assess the relationships of walking distance, frequency, and intensity to the prevalence of antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and LDL cholesterol-lowering medications use.


Cross-sectional analyses of 32,683 female and 8112 male participants of the National Walkers' Health Study, of whom 2.8% and 7.4% reported antidiabetic, 14.3% and 29.0% reported antihypertensive, and 7.3% and 21.5% reported LDL cholesterol-lowering medication use, respectively.


Weekly walking distance, longest walk, and walking intensity were inversely related to the prevalence of antidiabetic (males: P < 0.001, females: P < 0.0001), antihypertensive (males: P < 0.01, females: P < 0.0001), and LDL cholesterol-lowering medications (males: P < 0.01, females: P < 0.0001). Each medication remained significantly related to both walking intensity and longest weekly walk when adjusted for total weekly distance. Compared with men and women who walked at a speed of < 1.2 m.s, those who walked > 2.1 m.s had 48% and 52% lower odds for antihypertensive, 68% and 59% lower odds for antidiabetic, and 53% and 40% lower odds for LDL cholesterol-lowering medications, respectively, when adjusted for age, smoking, and diet. The longest usual weekly walk was a better discriminator of medication status than the total cumulative distance per week, particularly in men.


These results are consistent with the hypothesis that antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and LDL cholesterol-lowering medication use may be reduced substantially by walking more intensely and farther each week, and by including longer walks.

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