HealthDay News — A physician-delivered step count prescription strategy with an individualized rate of increase can result in an increase in step count/day, according to a study published online January 11 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Kaberi Dasgupta, MD, from the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, and colleagues examined the effects of physician-delivered step count prescriptions and monitoring. Participants were randomized to a control arm or an active arm, in which they were provided with pedometers and recorded step counts. Physicians reviewed their records over a one-year period and provided a written step count prescription with a goal of a 3,000-step/day increase (individualized rate of increase). Participants in the control arm were advised to engage in 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Seventy-nine percent of the 347 participants completed the final evaluation. 

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The researchers found that there was a net increase of 20% in steps/day for active versus control participants (1,190 steps). Inconclusive changes were seen in carotid femoral pulse wave velocity. Among participants with type 2 diabetes, active versus control participants experienced a lowering of hemoglobin A1c (−0.38%). The active versus control arm also showed a decrease in homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (−0.96 in all participants not treated with insulin).

“A simple physician-delivered step count prescription strategy incorporated into routine clinical practice led to a net 20% increase in step counts, though below the 3,000 steps/day targeted increment,” the authors write.

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