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To explore prospectively the correlation between the level of pedometer-determined physical activity at the start of the study and the change in pulse wave velocity from baseline to 4 years later in people with Type 2 diabetes.We analysed data from 135 men and 53 women with Type 2 diabetes, aged 54–66 years. Physical activity was measured with waist-mounted pedometers on 3 consecutive days and the numbers of steps/day at baseline were classified into four groups: <5000 steps/day, 5000–7499 steps/day, 7500–9999 steps/day and ≥10 000 steps/day. Pulse wave velocity was measured using applanation tonometry over the carotid and femoral arteries at baseline and after 4 years.The mean (±sd; range) number of steps/day was 8022 (±3765; 956–20 921). The participants with the lowest level of physical activity had a more pronounced increase in the change in pulse wave velocity compared with the participants with the highest. When change in pulse wave velocity was analysed as a continuous variable and adjusted for sex, age, diabetes duration, HbA1c, BMI, systolic blood pressure, pulse wave velocity at baseline, β-blocker use, statin use, unemployment, smoking and diabetes medication, the number of steps/day at baseline was significantly associated with a less steep increase in change in pulse wave velocity (P=0.005). Every 1000 extra steps at baseline corresponded to a lower increase in change in pulse wave velocity of 0.103 m/s.We found that a high level of pedometer-determined physical activity was associated with a slower progression of arterial stiffness over 4 years in middle-aged people with Type 2 diabetes.The Cardiovascular Risk factors in Patients with Diabetes Prospective Study in Primary Care (CARDIPP) is the first prospective study exploring the association between pedometer-determined physical activity and the progression of arterial stiffness over time in people with Type 2 diabetes.Baseline levels of daily physical activity assessed by pedometer had an inverse association with subsequent risk of arterial stiffness.The study also provides novel support for the durable vascular protective role of high level of daily physical activity over time, independently of BMI, diabetes duration, HbA1c and systolic blood pressure.