Aims/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of physical activity counselling in promoting physical activity in people with Type 2 diabetes and to evaluate resultant physiological and biochemical effects.
Methods: A total of 70 inactive people with Type 2 diabetes were given standard exercise information and randomised to receive physical activity counselling (n=35, experimental) or not (n=35, control). Physical activity consultations were delivered at baseline and after 6 months, with follow-up phone calls after 1, 3, 6 and 9 months. Changes from baseline after 6 and 12 months were assessed for physical activity (7-day recall and accelerometer), for physiological characteristics (body mass index and blood pressure) and for biochemical variables (HbA(1)c, lipid profile, fibrinogen, tissue plasminogen activator and microalbuminuria).
Results: Significant differences between groups were recorded for physical activity after 6 and 12 months (p<0.01). The experimental group had increased levels of physical activity from baseline to 6 months (p<0.01), with no decrease from 6 to 12 months (p>0.05). In the control group, accelerometer counts per week decreased from baseline to 12 months (p=0.03). Between-group differences (p<0.05) were recorded for the change in HbA(1)c (experimental: 0.26% decrease; control: 0.15% increase), for systolic blood pressure (experimental: 7.7 mm Hg decrease; control: 5.6 mm Hg increase) and for fibrinogen (experimental: 0.28 mmol/l decrease; control: 1.43 mmol/l increase) from baseline to 6 months, and for total cholesterol (experimental: 0.33 mmol/l decrease; control: 0.04 mmol/l increase) from baseline to 12 months (p<0.05). No significant differences were recorded in other measured variables.
Conclusions/interpretations: Physical activity counselling was effective in promoting physical activity in people with Type 2 diabetes. The counselling improved glycaemic control as well as the status of cardiovascular risk factors in these patients.