ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
CANCER
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Probiotics Are The Good Guys
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
5 Reasons why you could gain weight while dieting
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Preparing for a Chlorine Gas Disaster
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Add your Article

More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health

Walk a little, and your body will thank you. Walk a lot, and it will really thank you.

That's the message of a new study that links taking more steps in a day to a lower risk of an extremely common condition known as metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes.

The research only shows a connection between more walking and better health -- it doesn't prove that simply walking more will make you healthier. Still, the findings suggest that "you don't have to be out there running marathons," said study co-author Peter T. Katzmarzyk, a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.

Instead, "you just have to incorporate physical activity such as walking into your lifestyle," he said.

The study, published in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examined the effects of exercise on metabolic syndrome, which is estimated to affect more than a third of adults in the United States.

People with metabolic syndrome have at least some of the risk factors for heart disease and diabetes -- excess weight in the abdomen, elevated blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol, high triglyceride (blood fat) levels, insulin resistance or elevated blood glucose levels.

The condition serves as a sort of early warning system, Katzmarzyk said. "If you have two, three or four risk factors, you may have a much higher risk of developing full-blown cardiovascular disease than someone who doesn't," he said.

Many people with excess weight have metabolic syndrome, but people of normal weight can develop it too, he said.

The study authors examined a 2005-2006 study that tracked 1446 adults (with an average age of 47.5) as they went about their days. The participants wore high-quality pedometers (known as accelerometers) that allowed researchers to accurately count the number of steps they took each day and sort them into three groups: "sedentary" (those who took fewer than 5000 steps a day), "low-to-somewhat-active" (5000 to 9999 steps a day), and "active-to-highly active" (10,000 or more steps a day).

After adjusting their statistics so they wouldnt be thrown off by factors like gender and age, the researchers found that almost 56 percent of those who took the least steps had metabolic syndrome, but just 13 percent of those who took the most steps had it. Overall, about a third had metabolic syndrome.

But even adults who were only somewhat active had a better chance of avoiding the syndrome than those who walked the least. Compared to the sedentary group, people in the "low-to-somewhat-active" group had 40 percent lower odds of developing the condition. People in the "active-to-highly active" had a full 72 percent lower odds of developing it.

In addition, each additional 1,000 steps was associated with an 8-13 percent decrease in the odds of a large waist, in a low level of "good" HDL cholesterol, and in high levels of triglycerides.

Those who walked the most were least likely to have risk factors, Katzmarzyk said.

"There was a trend all the way," he said. "It's not that you reach some magical number. Something is better than nothing, and something more than that is even better."

Since the study didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between walking and lowered odds of metabolic syndrome, other factors could be at play, Katzmarzyk said. For example, people who have metabolic syndrome may be less active because of it.

David R. Bassett Jr., a professor who studies exercise at the University of Tennessee, said the new study is significant because it's more rigorous than previous research examining the connection between steps taken and metabolic syndrome.

"The amount of walking people do is vitally important for their health," Bassett said. "The authors measured the total volume of walking performed, not just walking done in bouts of 10 minutes or more, and not just brisk walking. Plain, old walking is good for your health."

SOURCES: Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Ph.D., professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La.; David R. Bassett Jr., Ph.D., professor, Department of Exercise, Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; May 2010, American Journal of Preventive Medicine Published on: May 20, 2010