AIMS: We evaluated the associations of diabetic complications and underlying pathology with daily walking activity in type 2 diabetic patients without manifest mobility limitations. METHODS: 100 persons with type 2 diabetes (mean age 64.5+/-9.4 years) were studied. Persons with manifest mobility limitations were excluded. Possible determinants measured: peripheral neuropathy, neuropathic pain, peripheral arterial disease, cardiovascular disease, decreased muscle strength (handgrip strength), BMI, depression, falls and fear of falling. Walking activity was measured during one week with a pedometer. Functional capacity was measured with the 6min walk test, the timed "up and go" test and a stair climbing test. RESULTS: Prevalence of neuropathy (40%) and obesity (53%) was high. Persons took a median of 6429 steps/day. In multivariate regression analysis, adjusted for age and sex, neuropathy was associated with a reduction of 1967 steps/day, decreased muscle strength with 1782 steps/day, and an increase in BMI of 1kg/m(2) with a decrease of 210 steps/day (all p<0.05). Decreased muscle strength and BMI, but not neuropathy, were associated with outcome of functional capacity tests in multiple regression analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Peripheral neuropathy, decreased muscle strength and obesity are strongly associated with walking in persons with type 2 diabetes without manifest mobility limitations.