Study: Counseling May be Effective in Changing Habits in People with Diabetes

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By : dLife Editors

A new Italian study finds that sedentary patients with Type 2 diabetes who received regular counseling from an exercise specialist made lasting changes when it came to their health habits, compared those who only received advice about physical activity from their doctors at their annual checkup.

The researchers, from La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy and coauthors conducted a randomized clinical trial of 300 physically inactive and sedentary patients with Type 2 diabetes at three outpatient diabetes clinics in Rome.

They examined whether a behavioral intervention that included counseling sessions with diabetes and exercise specialists was more effective than standard care with general physician recommendations in producing a sustained increase in physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior.

The counseling intervention involved a two-step behavior change: First it decreased sedentary time by substituting it with a wide range of light-intensity physical activities and/or interrupting prolonged sitting with brief bouts of light-intensity physical activity.

The other step of the intervention was to slowly increase the amount of purposeful moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity.

The study tested an intervention that targeted both physical activity and sedentary time across various settings including leisure, transportation, household, and occupation, based on theoretical grounds and using behavior change techniques.

How was the Study Conducted?

300 sedentary patients with Type 2 diabetes from three outpatient diabetes clinics in Rome were randomly put into either the intervention group or a control group.

150 patients were enrolled in each group; 133 patients in the intervention group and 134 patients in the control group completed the study.

Each year for 3 years, patients in the behavioral intervention group received a one-on-one counseling session from a diabetologist and eight biweekly, one-on-one theory and practice counseling sessions about physical activity/sedentary time from an exercise specialist.

Those in the control group only received annual advice about physical activity/sedentary time from their general physician.

Researchers conclude that for patients with Type 2 diabetes, a behavioral intervention of more than 3 years’ resulted in a sustained increase in physical activity and a decrease in sedentary time compared to standard care.

The study was supported by the Metabolic Fitness Association, Monterotondo, Rome, Italy. Authors of the study received personal fees from AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Takeda. Full financial relationships are disclosed here.

The findings from the study are were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.