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Postgrad Med J. May 2004; 80(943): 287–291.
PMCID: PMC1742997

Barriers to physical activity in patients with diabetes


Purpose: Two questions were addressed: (1) How much physical activity do patients with diabetes perform? (2) What are the perceived factors that prevent patients from doing more physical activity?

Research design and methods: Interview based questionnaires were distributed to consecutive patients attending the Diabetes Clinic, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee over a period of five months. Exclusion criteria were age below 20 years and inadequate understanding of English; 428 questionnaires were given out with 406 completed.

Results: Physical activity was undertaken by 34% of patients with diabetes and only 9% of these patients exercised sufficiently to achieve a large change in heart rate or breathing. The main reasons for inactivity included perceived difficulty taking part in exercise, feelings of tiredness, and being distracted by something good on television. Lack of time and lack of local facilities also contributed.

Conclusions: Few patients with diabetes participate in physical activity, and in those who do the level of intensity is low. There are many modifiable factors distracting patients from exercise.

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Selected References

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