Physical Activity in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes Educ. 2016 Feb;42(1):108-15. doi: 10.1177/0145721715620021. Epub 2015 Dec 8.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine sociodemographic, clinical, and psychological factors associated with engaging in regular physical activity (PA) in adults with type 1 diabetes.

Methods: Secondary cross-sectional analysis based on data from the Type One Diabetes Exchange clinic registry was conducted. Adults ≥18 years old enrolled in the clinic registry who had completed PA self-report data (n = 7153) were included in this study.

Results: Mean age was 37.14 ± 17 years, and 54% (n = 3840) were men. Type 1 diabetes duration was 19.5 ± 13.5 years, and mean A1C level was 7.9% ± 1.5% (62 mmol/mol). Twelve percent (n = 848) of the sample reported no PA; 55% (n = 3928) reported PA 1 to 4 days per week; and 33% (n = 2377) reported PA ≥5 days per week. Factors that were associated with increased odds of no PA were older age, less-than-excellent general health, increased body mass index, longer duration of diabetes, and increased depressive symptoms. More blood glucose meter checks per day decreased odds of no PA. Factors associated with lower odds of ≥5 days of PA included minority race/ethnicity, education, less-than-excellent general health, presence of a foot ulcer, increased body mass index, and depressive symptoms. Male sex, less-than-full-time employment, and being single increased the odds of ≥5 days of PA.

Conclusions: Several demographic, clinical, diabetes-related, and psychosocial factors were related to PA. Potential interventions may target those with depressive symptoms or self-reported poor general health, or they may be tailored to working adults who may find it harder to be physically active.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / psychology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation
  • Employment
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Registries
  • Self Report
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human