Feasibility and pilot study of an intervention to support active lifestyles in youth with type 1 diabetes

Fiona Mitchell, Louise Wilkie, Kenneth Robertson, John J. Reilly, Alison Kirk

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Background: Evidence suggests youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D) have lower levels of physical activity (PA) than the general population. The ActivPals intervention aimed to support youth with T1D to lead an active lifestyle.

Methods:  Twenty youth aged 7 to 16 years with T1D were recruited to a pilot randomized controlled trial. PA and quality of life (QoL) were measured using Actigraph GT3X+ monitor and Pediatric QoL scales at baseline and 1-month follow-up. A two-way, mixed ANOVA showed indicative effects of the intervention. Qualitative interviews were carried out with 16 participants to explore perceptions of the intervention.

Results:   An increase in moderate to vigorous PA was reported in intervention and control groups from baseline to follow-up (F(1, 14) = 5.83; P = .03), with no significance between group differences. Participants in both groups reported significantly less overall diabetes “problems” (F(1, 16) = 7.93; P = .012) and significantly less lifestyle “problems” (F(1, 16) = 7.39; P = .015) at follow-up. However, both groups also reported significant increases in “problems” with the day-to-day diabetes routine (F(1,16) = 6.48; P = .022) at follow-up. Parents reported significant increased worry about their child's diabetes at follow-up, in both groups (F(1, 14) = 5.83; P = .046). There was no significant increase in reported hypoglycemic occurrences despite increased PA. The qualitative data highlight that goal setting, self-monitoring, and social support were effective motivators for increasing PA.

Conclusions: A larger trial with longer follow-up should be conducted to explore the effect of the intervention on PA in youth with T1D.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-449
JournalPediatric Diabetes
Issue number3
Early online date24 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Intervention
  • Physical activity
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Youth


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