Physical activity of moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day, on most days substantially reduces the risk of many chronic diseases.
To assess the effect of regular physical activity on blood pressure and blood sugar levels in a rural Indian community
Settings and Design:
This community-based study was carried out in Periakattupalayam and Rangareddipalayam in south India, with 485 subjects, aged 20 to 49 years.
Materials and Methods:
The study was done in five phases: Awareness campaign, baseline assessment of participants, intervention phase (10 weeks), interim, and final assessment. Physical activity of moderate intensity (brisk walking for 30 minutes on four days / week) was promoted by forming 30 small walking groups, in a home-based setting, with professional supervision. Village leaders and Self-Help Group members were the resource people for the promotion of physical activity.
Analysis was done by using paired ‘t’ test; the ‘Intention-to-Treat’ approach was utilized for the interpretation of the findings of the study.
Of the 485 subjects, 265 (54.6%) complied with walking on more than four days / week, while 156 (32.2%) walked on one to four days / week, and 64 (13.2%) dropped out during the intervention period. This study has shown that a 10-week intervention to promote physical activity was effective in significantly decreasing the population's BP by 1.56 / 0.74 mm Hg, fasting blood sugar levels by 2.82 mg%, body weight by 0.17 kg, and BMI by 0.06 kg / m2.
This study has proved the functional feasibility of enabling people to undertake physical activity in a rural Indian community, and the effectiveness of using physical activity, to significantly reduce the population's mean BP and blood sugar levels.