Exercise Levels Low in Diabetes Patients

Female diabetes patients trying to drop pounds were more active than those not trying to lose weight

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Diabetes is a disease closely tied to weight, but are patients getting enough exercise to slim down? Maybe not, suggests a new study.

The study addressed this question in a group of adult type 2 diabetes patients.

The study showed that female diabetes patients who were trying to lose weight were more active than those who were not. But neither men nor women were active enough.

"Turn exercise into a game to make it more fun."

Increasing exercise levels in US diabetes patients is a national health goal, said Paul Loprinzi, PhD, and Gina Pariser, PT, PhD, authors of the new study.

The authors, from Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, wanted to study how weight-control status — e.g., whether someone is trying to lose or maintain weight — might affect exercise levels in adults with diabetes.

To do so, they used data from the 2003 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to find 733 diabetes patients aged 20 or older.

The patients wore a device that recorded their activity levels. They also answered surveys about their weight-control status.

The authors found that female diabetes patients who reported that they were trying to lose weight exercised 74 percent more than women who were either not trying to lose weight or trying to maintain their weight.

Among male diabetes patients, the study authors found no major differences in activity levels. The men were, however, more active than the women.

Only 12.5 percent of women and 36.7 percent of men trying to lose weight met the national activity guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise a week.

"As a result, health care professionals are encouraged to increase patients' knowledge of their actual physical activity behavior and awareness of the minimum level of physical activity needed to improve health and sustain weight loss," the authors wrote.

"Understanding the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition is essential to starting and sustaining a personal wellness program. Determining what's most important to you is clearer when facing a disease like diabetes," said Rusty Gregory, a wellness coach, personal fitness trainer and author of "Self-Care Reform: How to Discover Your Own Path to Good Health" and "Living Wheat-Free For Dummies."

"Gathering information on how to best address the disease will better prepare you for the road ahead. Using this information to establish well-written SMART goals, identify motivators and obstacles, and have an accountability buddy is the blueprint for success of any wellness program," Gregory told dailyRx News.

"There is no one goal that will meet all of your health needs. The best set goal is the goal that is designed specifically to meet a need(s) and is performed regularly," he said.

This study did not account for other weight-loss methods like diet changes. Further research is needed on the relationship between weight-control status, exercise and diabetes, the authors noted.

The study was published in the September/October issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion. The authors disclosed no funding sources or conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
September 11, 2014
Last Updated:
September 12, 2014