Low adherence to diet and exercise changes in type 2 diabetes

Mon, 09 Dec 2013
Research shows that 60% of patients with type 2 diabetes are not increasing their level of exercise following their diagnosis and 50% have not made changes to their diet.

The figures result from a survey of 652 patients with type 2 diabetes and 337 physicians from the UK, US, Spain, India, Japan and Brazil. The Time 2 Do More survey is a collaboration between the University of Exeter Medical School and pharmaceutical company Novartis. The survey aimed to explore why patients with the type 2 diabetes fail reach their treatment goals.

Alarmingly, 75% of the patients surveyed were not concerned about the complications of diabetes. A contributing factor to this is that only 50% of patients were aware of being told of the risks of complications at their diagnosis.

The survey suggests that patients should be made aware of the risk of complications more than once. It is understandable that a state of shock at the news of diagnosis may make it harder for patients to fully take in the possible implications of the condition.

It can also be important for providers of healthcare, such as the NHS, to address what also acts as a barrier towards patients meeting lifestyle change goals. A range of additional factors that could play a part include:
  • Having depression
  • Not understanding precisely why the lifestyle changes help
  • Being in denial about diabetes or its seriousness
  • Having a physical disability
  • Having a low income
  • Having emotional attachment to particular food types
Lifestyle interventions are important in type 2 diabetes in improving blood glucose control, improving heart disease, reducing the risk of health complications and reducing or delaying the need to move onto stronger diabetes medication such as insulin.
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