Virtual promotion of physical activity in Type 2 diabetes

Summary

The purpose of this project was to aid in the development of a web-based physical activity intervention for people with type 2 diabetes living in remote and rural areas. The need for clear information was identified with regard to diabetes as well as the call for accurate advice for both patients and health professionals. The need for a ‘virtual trainer’ for support, advice and help with goal setting and interactive maps showing physical activity opportunities were all deemed important. The team designed a six-month randomised controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of the website developed, with and without interactive design elements – DAVE (Diabetes and Virtual Exercise). Self-efficacy improved and there were improvements in weight and glycaemic control in many participants. 

Challenge

In the UK, only 39% of men and 29% of women meet the recommended physical activity targets of moderate intensity exercise of 150 minutes per week. Structured exercise training is one way to deliver relevant information and this has been associated with improvements in diabetes control, while behaviour interventions are also important in increasing physical activity. However, introduction of these approaches is time consuming and resource intensive and for hard to reach groups such as those living in remote or rural locations particularly difficult to implement. 

Objectives

To investigate what forms of technology have been used to promote physical activity in people with type 2 diabetes and which appeared to be the most effective. To elicit opinions on the features for a website most likely to promote physical activity for people in rural areas. To incorporate interactive features proposed by patients and health care professionals through focus groups and investigate whether they produced greater changes than an information only website.

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QiC Diabetes Finalist 2015
Best integrated IT/digital applications initiative
Virtual promotion of physical activity in Type 2 diabetes
by Raigmore Hospital



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