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Fear of Injury With Physical Activity Is Greater in Adults With Diabetes Than in Adults Without Diabetes

Diabetes Care
American Diabetes Association
Publication Date
DOI: 10.2337/dc10-1801
  • Original Research
  • Clinical Care/Education/Nutrition/Psychosocial Research
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine


OBJECTIVE Physical activity is a cornerstone of treatment for diabetes, yet people with diabetes perform less moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) than people without diabetes. In contrast, whether differences in walking activity exist has been understudied. Diabetes-specific barriers to physical activity are one possible explanation for lower MVPA in diabetes. We hypothesized that people with diabetes would perform less walking and combined MVPA and would be less likely to anticipate increasing physical activity if barriers were theoretically absent, compared with people without diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We surveyed 1,848 randomly selected rural Colorado adult residents by telephone from 2002 to 2004. Respondents reported weekly walking and MVPA duration and their likelihood of increasing physical activity if each of seven barriers was theoretically absent. RESULTS People with diabetes (n = 129) had lower odds of walking and MVPA than people without diabetes (walking: adjusted odds ratio 0.62 [95% CI 0.40–0.95]; MVPA: adjusted odds ratio 0.60 [0.36–0.99]; ≥10 vs. <10 min/week, adjusted for age, sex, BMI, and ethnicity). Respondents with diabetes reported fear of injury as a barrier to physical activity more often than respondents without diabetes (56 vs. 39%; P = 0.0002), although this relationship was attenuated after adjusting for age and BMI (adjusted odds ratio 1.36 [0.93–1.99]). CONCLUSIONS Although walking is a preferred form of activity in diabetes, people with diabetes walk less than people without diabetes. Reducing fear of injury may potentially increase physical activity for people with diabetes, particularly in older and more overweight individuals.

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