Walking Outside in Neighborhoods for pre-Diabetes Environmental Research


The purpose of this research study is to examine the mechanisms by which walking outdoors in different types of urban/suburban environments improves well-being, both physically and mentally, in adults at risk for developing diabetes.

Individuals participating in this 18-week study will be provided with a smartwatch and monetary compensation for their time.

This research study is being conducted in both the Twin Cities and Chicago metro areas by Professor Mark Pereira at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Associate Professor Teresa Horton at Northwestern University with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

You may be eligible if:

  • You have an A1c or blood sugar value in the prediabetes range.
    • If you think you may have prediabetes but are unsure, our staff can determine if you meet the criteria with a simple blood test.
  • You are between the ages of 25-64.
  • You are not very physically active.
  • You are generally healthy and willing to take part in a walking program.
  • You are able to speak and understand English.

If you are determined to be eligible, you would be asked to:

  • Attend four in-person study visits, varying in length from 30-60 minutes; these visits would involve fasting blood draws.
  • Take part in two 6-week walking programs: 3-5 walks per week (totaling at least 150 minutes/week).
    • Walking locations will be outdoors in your community. 
    • Study staff will meet you at four of your walks to have you wear heart rate and air quality monitors.

View the Study Fact Sheet for Mpls/St. Paul metro participants (PDF)

View the Study Fact Sheet for Chicago metro participants (PDF)

If you are eligible and choose to take part in the study,

  • You will receive a Garmin vivoactive 5 smartwatch.
  • You will also receive up to $440 for completing study activities.

You will be provided with your study data, including blood measures, body weight, etc. within six months of completing the study.

If you have questions about the study, feel free to contact us:

In Minnesota: email us at wonderstudy@umn.edu or call/text 612-437-6126.

In Illinois: email us at wonderstudy@northwestern.edu or call 847-467-1686.

Complete our online screener.

  • If you meet the preliminary eligibility criteria, we will call you back within 7-10 business days.

Absolutely! We’d love your help spreading the word.

Feel free to share this website with people you think may be eligible to participate, or in your social media accounts. People must be able to come to in-person visits in Minneapolis or the Chicago metropolitan area.

If you have other recruitment ideas, please call us at (612) 437-6126 or send an email to wonderstudy@umn.edu.


Learn More

Do you have questions or want more information?

Please reach out to us at: wonderstudy@umn.edu or 612-437-6126.

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