People with type 1 diabetes could find it harder to do regular physical activity if they have increased BMI, poor general health and depressive symptoms, a new study reports.
Researchers from New York University aimed to examine how sociodemographic, psychological and clinical factors affected physical activity in adults with type 1 diabetes.
They reviewed data on 7,153 type 1 diabetic adults who had enrolled in the Type One Diabetes Exchange Clinic Registry. The mean age of the patients was 37; 54 per cent were women; the average duration of diabetes was 19.55 years and their mean HbA1c was 7.9 per cent (62.8 mmol/mol).
The participants completed self-reported data on how much physical activity they did in a week, and how often it lasted for at least 30 minutes. The researchers then asked them about variables such as education, employment, incomen, BMI, duration of diabetes, HbA1c and depressive symptoms.
88 per cent of participants reported doing physical activity at least one day per week; 55 per cent did physical activity for at least 30 minutes between one and four days per week; and 33 per cent reported doing physical activity on at least five days per week.
The researchers identified that age, general health, duration of diabetes, BMI, depressive symptoms and the number of blood glucose tests per day were independently linked to participants doing no physical activity.
If participants had a one-year age increase, one-point BMI increase, one additional year of diabetes duration or reported “less than excellent” general health, their odds of doing no physical activity were raised. Patients who had foot ulcers were also more unlikely to achieve physical activity recommendations.
The researchers wrote: “These data highlight some of the sociodemographic, clinical, diabetes-related and psychological factors associated with patterns of [physical activity] in a large sample of adults with [type 1 diabetes]. General health, elevated BMI and depressive symptoms were associated with no [physical activity] as well as achievement of adequate [physical activity].
“Potential interventions may target those with depressive symptoms or self-reported poor general health, or they may be tailored to working adults who may find it harder to be physically active.”
The findings were published in The Diabetes Educator.

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