Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) requires permanent multidisciplinary treatment. This study investigated the effects of an educational program with emphasis on physical exercise on biological health markers of subjects with type 2 DM (T2DM).
Methods: This was a quasi-experimental study with subjects who attended a diabetes education program over one year. At the beginning, middle and end of the annual cycle, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), lipid profile and anthropometry were measured. The program offered two hours of educational and exercise interventions twice a week. Before and after each session capillary blood glucose (BG) was measured. Statistical analysis used Pearson's χ2, paired t, ANOVA-RM and MANOVA tests to compare results with significance levels set at P<0.05.
Results: Data of 103 subjects (73% women) were analyzed. Mean age was 64.1±10.8 years and 23% of participants were on insulin therapy. As an acute effect mean BG decreased significantly (P<0.001) from 157.5±61.5 mg/dL to 128.5±47.5 mg/dL after the intervention sessions, also resulting in increased prevalence of normoglycemic BG (from 44.0% to 68.6%). Chronic effects of participation in the program could be perceived through significant reduction (P<0.05) from beginning to end of the study of mean BG (from 144.8±5.0 mg/dL to 135.3±3.1 mg/dL), HbA1c (from 7.3±1.3% to 7.1±1.0%) and triglycerides (from 177.9±121.3 mg/dL to 150.5±130.9 mg/dL). There were no significant changes in anthropometric variables.
Conclusions: A diabetes education program with emphasis on supervised physical exercise improved triglycerides and glycemic control in subjects with T2DM.