If you could save $9.07 for each additional 100 steps you took, how far would YOU walk?
Participating in a walking program may indeed reduce out-of-pocket health care expenses for people with diabetes. That’s the recent finding by researchers from the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research.
The research team examined step count data for 7,594 Blue Cross Blue Care Network (BCN) enrollees who participated in its Walkingspree program in 2010. Using data submitted monthly by the subjects, the researchers were able to compare the change in total annual health care costs for the year before and after starting the program.
According to their findings, every additional 100 daily steps taken by participants was related to an average individual savings of $9.07. They also found that, on average, individuals without diabetes experienced greater total cost reductions compared to those with diabetes or diabetes with complications.
Among individuals who averaged at least 5,000 daily steps, the average expected total change in annual health care costs was $872.67 for people with diabetes and $2491.88 for people with diabetes with complications. Although there is an expected increase in health care costs for the average person with diabetes, this increase is relatively smaller for those who averaged more daily steps.
The group presented its findings at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in San Diego this past March (“Can a Pedometer-Based Walking Program Lower Health Care Costs Among Adults with Type 2 Diabetes?”).