Daily walking recommendations typically point to a minimum of 10‚000 steps per day. Tudor-Locke said a good rule of thumb is that 2‚000 steps equals about one mile.
Earlier studies‚ based on questionnaires‚ have shown that walking more is tied to a lower risk of diabetes. But few studies have used precise measures of how many steps people take each day‚ said Amanda Fretts‚ the lead author of the new report and a researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle.
To get a better sense of walking's potential benefits‚ Fretts and her colleagues asked more than 1‚800 people to wear a pedometer on their hip for a week to tally the number of steps they typically took each day.
About a quarter of the group were considered to have very low activity‚ taking fewer than 3‚500 steps a day‚ while half took fewer than 7‚800 steps per day.
At the beginning of the study‚ none of the participants had diabetes. But after five years of follow-up‚ 243 people had developed the condition.
About 17 percent of the people in the lowest activity group developed diabetes‚ compared to 12 percent of the people who took more than 3‚500 steps a day.