Aims: To synthesize evidence from randomized and non-randomized studies of physical activity interventions in children and young people with Type 1 diabetes so as to explore clinically relevant health outcomes and inform the promotion of physical activity.
Method: We conducted a search of CINAHL Plus, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, SCOPUS, SportDiscus and Web of Science between October and December 2012. Eligible articles included subjects aged ≤18 years with Type 1 diabetes and a physical activity intervention that was more than a one-off activity session. Physiological, psychological, behavioural or social outcomes were those of interest.
Results: A total of 26 articles (10 randomized and 16 non-randomized studies), published in the period 1964-2012, were reviewed. Although there was heterogeneity in study design, methods and reporting, 23 articles reported at least one significant beneficial health outcome at follow-up. Meta-analyses of these studies showed potential benefits of physical activity on HbA1c (11 studies, 345 participants, standardized mean difference -0.52, 95% CI -0.97 to -0.07; P = 0.02), BMI (four studies, 195 participants, standardized mean difference -0.41, 95% CI -0.70 to -0.12; P = 0.006) and triglycerides (five studies, 206 participants, standardized mean difference -0.70, 95% CI -1.25 to -0.14; P = 0.01).The largest effect size was for total cholesterol (five studies, 206 participants, standardized mean difference -0.91, 95% CI -1.66 to -0.17; P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Physical activity is important for diabetes management and has the potential to delay cardiovascular disease, but there is a lack of studies that are underpinned by psychological behaviour change theory, promoting sustained physical activity and exploring psychological outcomes. There remains a lack of knowledge of how to promote physical activity in people with Type 1 diabetes.
© 2014 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Diabetes UK.