ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
CANCER
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
Are Medical Meetings Environmentally Unfriendly?
EYE CARE, VISION
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Olde Time Medicine Therapy May Prevent Alcoholic Relapse
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
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