The role of free-play physical activity in healthy blood glucose maintenance in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus

Psychol Health Med. 2009 Jan;14(1):48-52. doi: 10.1080/13548500801983066.


Medical management for children with type 1 diabetes mellitus, including insulin administration to control high blood glucose levels (BGL), is crucial. However, a child-controlled behavioural strategy, like physical activity, to maintain target BGL may be warranted. To demonstrate, pre- and post-activity BGL were collected for 73 children aged 8- to 14-years attending a diabetes camp. Change in BGL across one session of a free-play swimming activity was analysed. Average BGL was significantly reduced from 197.18 mg/dl to 177.78 mg/dl across one 45 min session, and male gender predicted larger reductions. With safety precautions and within the context of appropriate medical management, free-play activity could be used as a strategy for maintaining target BGL.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Play and Playthings*


  • Blood Glucose