Endurance athletes and type 1 diabetes

Diabetes Educ. Mar-Apr 2011;37(2):193-207. doi: 10.1177/0145721710395782. Epub 2011 Feb 15.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the current diabetes management practices of endurance athletes with type 1 diabetes and to compare these practices with the guidelines for athletes established by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Methods: Participants included in this descriptive study were endurance athletes aged 18 years and older with type 1 diabetes. The survey questions were based on the current clinical recommendations for endurance athletes with type 1 diabetes, as established by the ADA. A link to the questionnaire was posted on the Web site of the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association (DESA). A total of 38 questions were included in the survey, and 91 usable surveys were received. Analysis of variance was used for several comparisons using SPSS version 17.

Results: Half of the clinical guidelines were followed by the participants. Among these, about 50% followed many of the guidelines "most of the time" or "almost always" and 40% followed the guidelines "sometimes" or "most of the time." Results of ANOVA showed several trends (nonsignificant) in the occurrence of low blood glucose when the guidelines were not followed.

Conclusion: Endurance athletes with type 1 diabetes do not consistently follow the clinical guidelines for blood glucose management as recommended by the ADA. The results of this study reflect a need among athletes for diabetes management education programs that promote a better understanding of the potential negative side effects of suboptimal blood glucose control.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Self Care*
  • Sports*
  • United States


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Insulin