Aims: To investigate whether US adults with diabetes meet both the national and American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations for physical activity compared with people without diabetes, and to examine the trends of this behaviour over time.
Methods: We analysed data from large nationally representative cohorts from the 1996-2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The number of participants ranged from 98 127 in 1996 to 204,977 in 2005, and the number of people with diabetes ranged from 4379 in 1996 to 13,608 in 2005. Participants were classified by their exercise status and physical activity levels. The age-standardized prevalence of physical activity participation or meeting physical activity recommendations was calculated in people with and without diabetes.
Results: People with diabetes participated less in physical activity (63.1-68.9 vs. 71.7-78.3%) and met physical activity recommendations less than people without diabetes (40.2-42.9 vs. 48.0-51.5% for meeting national recommendations and 38.5-41.7 vs. 46.6-49.8% for meeting ADA recommendations). The percentage of people with diabetes who participated in physical activity in the past 10 years or met physical activity recommendations in the past 5 years did not vary, whereas significantly increasing trends were observed in people without diabetes. The odds for adults with diabetes meeting physical activity recommendations were significantly lower than in adults without diabetes even after multivariate adjustment.
Conclusion: People with diabetes were less likely to meet either national or ADA recommendations for physical activity than people without diabetes. Our results demonstrate the need for more efforts from health-care professionals to promote physical activity in people with diabetes.