Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Cardiovascular system--Diseases--Etiology; Diabetes--Complications; Academic theses;


Obesity and overweight populations have increased dramatically in the last two decades in the United States causing a significant increase in the number of adults with type 2 diabetes. This alarming increase has become an important public health problem due to the associated diseases and health risks. As a result, there have been several programs developed specifically to help prevent or decrease the complications of type 2 diabetes. Physical fitness is an important component of many behavior modification programs. Research studies have conclusively shown beneficial effects of regular activity for disease risk reduction. However, many studies have examined associations between self-reported physical activity and diabetes risk factors. Limited data are available on the relationship between objective fitness measurements and diabetes risk factors. . The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between cardiovascular fitness assessed using a sub-maximal treadmill test and anthropometric and metabolic measurements in adults with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes. Twenty nine men and women participated in the Fitness Plus behavioral intervention to lower risk factors of diabetes. Physical fitness was evaluated at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months based on the protocol of a 16 minute sub-maximal walking treadmill test. Each participant's rate of perceived exertion at 2 and 3 mph using the Borg's Scale, heart rate at 2 and 3 mph, and maximal walking speed were recorded every 2 minutes throughout the duration of the test. The results were analyzed using stepwise regression models and paired t-test. Heart rate at 2 mph consistently emerged as significant positive predictors (p< 0.05) of BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, and total cholesterol at each assessment point. Perceived exertion rating at 3 mph had the strongest association with hip-to-waist circumference, BMI, weight loss (kg), and weight loss percentage. This study suggests that greater improvements in diabetes risk factors are associated with faster walking speeds of at least 3 mph. Thus, an emphasis in lifestyle modification programs should be on encouraging participants to achieve fitness levels equal to or greater than this speed threshold.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Oksana Matvienko

Second Advisor

Forrest Dolgener

Third Advisor

Larry Hensley


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Date Original


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