Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Change in Physical Activity after a Diabetes Diagnosis: Opportunity for Intervention

Schneider, Kristin L.1; Andrews, Christopher2; Hovey, Kathleen M.3; Seguin, Rebecca A.4; Manini, Todd5; LaMonte, Michael J.3; Margolis, Karen L.6; Waring, Molly E.7; Ning, Yi8; Sims, Stacy9; Ma, Yunsheng10; Ockene, Judith10; Stefanick, Marcia L.9; Pagoto, Sherry L.10

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 1 - p 84–91
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a33010

Introduction Moderate-intensity physical activity is recommended for individuals with diabetes to control glucose and prevent diabetes-related complications. The extent to which a diabetes diagnosis motivates patients to increase physical activity is unclear. This study used data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (baseline data collected from 1993 to 1998) to examine change in physical activity and sedentary behavior in women who reported a diabetes diagnosis compared with women who did not report diabetes during 7 yr of follow-up (up to 2005).

Methods Participants (n = 84,300) were postmenopausal women who did not report diabetes at baseline (mean ± SD; age = 63.49 ± 7.34 yr; body mass index = 26.98 ± 5.67 kg·m−2). Linear mixed-model analyses were conducted adjusting for study year, age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, education, family history of diabetes, physical functioning, pain, energy/fatigue, social functioning, depression, number of chronic diseases, and vigorous exercise at age 18 yr. Analyses were completed in August 2012.

Results Participants who reported a diabetes diagnosis during follow-up were more likely to report increasing their total physical activity (P = 0.002), walking (P < 0.001), and number of physical activity episodes (P < 0.001) compared with participants who did not report a diabetes diagnosis. On average, participants reporting a diabetes diagnosis reported increasing their total physical activity by 0.49 MET·h·wk−1, their walking by 0.033 MET·h·wk−1, and their number of physical activity episodes by 0.19 MET·h·wk−1. No differences in reported sedentary behavior change were observed (P = 0.48).

Conclusions A diabetes diagnosis may prompt patients to increase physical activity. Healthcare professionals should consider how best to capitalize on this opportunity to encourage increased physical activity and maintenance.

Supplemental digital content is available in the text.

1Department of Psychology, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL; 2Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; 3Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; 4Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; 5Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; 6HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, Minneapolis, MN; 7Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA; 8Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA; 9Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; and 10Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA

Address for correspondence: Kristin L. Schneider, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Rosalind Franklin University, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064; E-mail:

Submitted for publication February 2013.

Accepted for publication June 2013.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine