The Effect of Walking on Postprandial Glycemic Excursion in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes and Healthy People

  1. Yogish C. Kudva, MD2
  1. 1Center for Clinical Investigation, Case Medical School, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
  2. 2Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Rochester, Minnesota
  3. 3Department of Information Engineering, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
  4. 4Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  1. Corresponding author: Yogish C. Kudva, kudva.yogish{at}


OBJECTIVE Physical activity (PA), even at low intensity, promotes health and improves hyperglycemia. However, the effect of low-intensity PA captured with accelerometery on glucose variability in healthy individuals and type 1diabetes has not been examined. Quantifying the effects of PA on glycemic variability would improve artificial endocrine pancreas (AEP) algorithms.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We studied 12 healthy control subjects (five males, 37.7 ± 13.7 years of age) and 12 patients with type 1 diabetes (five males, 37.4 ± 14.2 years of age) for 88 h. Participants performed PA approximating a threefold increase over their basal metabolic rate. PA was captured using a PA-monitoring system, and interstitial fluid glucose concentrations were captured with continuous glucose monitors. In random order, one meal per day was followed by inactivity, and the other meals were followed by walking. Glucose and PA data for a total of 216 meals were analyzed from 30 min prior to meal ingestion to 270 min postmeal.

RESULTS In healthy subjects, the incremental glucose area under the curve was 4.5 mmol/L/270 min for meals followed by walking, whereas it was 9.6 mmol/L/270 min (P = 0.022) for meals followed by inactivity. The corresponding glucose excursions for those with type 1 diabetes were 7.5 mmol/L/270 min and 18.4 mmol/L/270 min, respectively (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Walking significantly impacts postprandial glucose excursions in healthy populations and in those with type 1 diabetes. AEP algorithms incorporating PA may enhance tight glycemic control end points.

  • Received December 8, 2011.
  • Accepted June 25, 2012.

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