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Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Feb;74(2):258-63. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.08.018. Epub 2008 Oct 9.

Patients with Type 2 Diabetes experiences of making multiple lifestyle changes: a qualitative study.

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  • 1Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol, United Kingdom.



To explore patients newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) experiences of making single (diet) or multiple (diet and physical activity) changes in order to (1) assess whether patients experienced increases in physical activity as supporting or hindering dietary changes and vice versa, and (2) whether patients found making multiple lifestyle changes counterproductive or beneficial.


In-depth interviews with 30 individuals taking part in a randomised controlled trial that aimed to determine the effect of diet and physical activity on T2DM. Interviewees had been randomised to receive usual care, intensive dietary advice, or intensive dietary advice plus information on physical activity. Respondents were interviewed 6 and 9 months post-randomisation. They were asked about their experiences of making lifestyle changes. Data were analysed thematically.


Findings suggest providing diet and physical activity information together encourages patients to use physical activity in strategic ways to aid disease management and that most patients find undertaking multiple lifestyle changes helpful.


Increasing physical activity can act as a gateway behaviour, i.e. behaviour that produces positive effects in other behaviours.


Practitioners should provide diet and physical activity information together to encourage patients to use physical activity strategically to maintain dietary changes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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