Researchers use wearable technology to study link between exercise and diabetes risk in women


Using data from wearable devices, a recent study found that women with more daily steps had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, was led by Andrew Perry, MD, a research fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Perry and his colleagues set out to better understand the relationship between physical activity and the development of type 2 diabetes using data from commercial wearable devices linked to electronic health records.

Included in the investigations were data from 5,677 participants enrolled in the National Institutes of Health All of US Research Program from 2010 to 2021. The All of Us Research Program aims to advance individualized healthcare through collecting health data from a million or more people, allowing researchers to analyze data from real world populations. For this study, about 75 percent of the participants were female.

After a four year follow up, researchers found that people with an average daily step count of 10,700 were 44 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with 6,000 steps. The results also suggested that physical activity of any intensity can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

According to the study’s authors, these results show how increased physical activity can decrease the risk of diabetes with quantifiable data.

 “Our data shows the importance of moving your body every day to lower your risk of diabetes,” said Perry.