HealthDay News — For children with type 1 diabetes, the number of daily steps is associated with early signs of atherosclerosis and adverse cardiovascular risk, according to a study published online June 15 in Diabetes Care.

Noting that children with type 1 diabetes report lower physical activity levels than recommended, Jemma Anderson, MBBS, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues examined the impact on vascular health. Ninety children with type 1 diabetes were included in the study; 88 wore an armband to measure activity levels for 23.2 hours per day.

The researchers found that 55% of the children took fewer than 10,000 steps per day. There was a correlation between the mean and maximum aortic intima-media thickness (aIMT) and the average number of steps per day. There was a decrease in the mean/maximum aIMT of 0.0082/0.0093 mm with an increase of 1,000 steps/day. The correlation was independent of confounding variables including age, glycated hemoglobin, body mass index, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels. An increase of 1,000 steps/day correlated with lower cardiovascular risk (reductions noted in weight, blood pressure, and trigylcerides; increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol). No correlations were seen for carotid IMT.

“Our findings emphasize the importance of including advice for the benefits of exercise in routine education for children with type 1 diabetes,” the authors write.

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