A study by a university in New Zealand suggests that more emphasis needs to be placed on post-meal physical activity in guidance given to sufferers of type 2 diabetes
A new study has found that a 10-minute walk after each meal can be more beneficial than a single daily walk of three times the length to sufferers of type 2 diabetes in trying to stabilise their blood glucose levels.
The research, which was conducted by a group of academics from the University of Otago in New Zealand, has been published in the medical journal Diabetologia and led the authors to conclude that current guidelines given to diabetes sufferers should be amended to emphasise the importance of post-meal activity, especially when meals contain a significant amount of carbohydrate.
Current NHS guidelines recommend that diabetes sufferers should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, such as cycling or fast walking.
The researchers went on to say that undertaking physical activity after a meal may even reduce the need for an increased dose of insulin or additional injections around mealtimes, improving the day-to-day lives of diabetes sufferers.
The study involved 41 adults with type 2 diabetes and looked at the differing impact of a 10-minute walk following every main meal and a 30-minute walk taken once per day in reducing blood sugar levels. Each participant was monitored over a two-week period, using a continuous glucose monitoring system and testing of blood samples and the outcome proved that the 10 minute walks were much more effective than the 30 minute walks.
Poor management of diabetes can lead to a number of health complications, including heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke and amputation. According to Diabetes UK, 7,000 diabetes-related amputations are conducted every year in England alone, of which 80% could be prevented.
Corrina Mottram, a clinical negligence and serious injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The quality of life of a diabetes sufferer is very dependent upon the guidelines they are provided with. If the guidelines are inadequate then they face the threat of serious complications. Any credible research that calls current guidance into question should be taken seriously as thousands of lives potentially depend upon it.
“The NHS has a responsibility to conduct regular reviews of the guidance it gives to diabetes sufferers and it will be interesting to see how it responds to the findings of this survey, as well as tracking the progress of any follow up studies into the benefits of post-meal physical activity.
“At Thompsons we deal with people every day who have suffered complications as a result of diabetes that could be avoided through better management and earlier diagnosis of the condition. New research is key to keeping vulnerable patients as healthy as they can be and if the guidelines need amending we hope they will be.”
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