HealthDay News — Short-term primary care pedometer-based walking interventions can produce lasting health benefits, according to a study published online June 25 in PLOS Medicine.

Tess Harris, MBBS, MD, from St. George’s University of London, and colleagues examined trial intervention effects on long-term health outcomes relevant to walking interventions. Primary care data at 4 years from baseline were included from 2 primary care 12-week pedometer-based walking interventions. Data were obtained for 1001 PACE-UP participants aged 45 to 75 years and for 296 PACE-Lift participants aged 60 to 75 years.

The researchers found that for interventions vs controls, the hazard ratios for time to first event after randomization were 0.24 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.07 to 0.77) for nonfatal cardiovascular events, 0.34 (95% CI, 0.12 to 0.91) for total cardiovascular events, 0.75 (95% CI, 0.42 to 1.36) for diabetes, 0.98 (95% CI, 0.46 to 2.07) for depression, and 0.56 (95% CI, 0.35 to 0.90) for fractures. For falls, the negative binomial incidence rate ratio was 1.07 (95% CI, 0.78 to 1.46). For nonfatal cardiovascular events, total cardiovascular events, and fractures, the absolute risk reductions were 1.7% (95% CI, 0.5 to 2.1%), 1.6% (95% CI, 0.2 to 2.2%), and 3.6% (95% CI, 0.8 to 5.4%), respectively.

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“Short-term 12-week pedometer-based walking interventions can have long-term positive health effects and should be used more widely to help address the public health physical inactivity challenge,” the authors write.

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