Change in Physical Activity after a Diabetes Diagnosis: Opportunity for Intervention

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine



Document Type



Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Women's Health


INTRODUCTION: Moderate intensity physical activity is recommended for individuals with diabetes to control glucose and prevent diabetes-related complications. The extent to which a diabetes diagnosis motivates patients to increase physical activity is unclear. This study used data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (baseline data collected from 1993-1998) to examine change in physical activity and sedentary behavior in women who reported a diabetes diagnosis compared to women who did not report diabetes over 7 years of follow-up (up to 2005).

METHODS: Participants (n=84,300) were post-menopausal women who did not report diabetes at baseline [mean age=63.49; standard deviation (SD)=7.34; mean BMI=26.98 kg/m; SD=5.67]. Linear mixed model analyses were conducted adjusting for study year, age, race/ethnicity, BMI, education, family history of diabetes, physical functioning, pain, energy/fatigue, social functioning, depression, number of chronic diseases and vigorous exercise at age 18. Analyses were completed in August 2012.

RESULTS: Participants who reported a diabetes diagnosis during follow-up were more likely to report increasing their total physical activity (p=0.002), walking (p

CONCLUSION: A diabetes diagnosis may prompt patients to increase physical activity. Healthcare professionals should consider how best to capitalize on this opportunity to encourage increased physical activity and maintenance.


Citation: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Jul 15. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a33010. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed


Type 2 diabetes, Exercise, Sedentary behavior, Sedentary activity, Women's Health Initiative