Wolf D et al. Strategies for Improvement. SelfCare 2011;2(2):25-40

Strategies for Improving Physical Activity Participation among Individuals with Diabetes

by D L Wolf, K L Kemmis, J Kavookjian, J Largay, J F Zrebiec, J Sidorov, T B Compton, C Cox, K Ernst, G Scheiner, N Soni, P C Butler, D Sherr, L Kolb, K Fitzner



Despite the health benefits of physical activity, many people with diabetes are not physically active. In 2010, the American Association of Diabetes Educators hosted a Being Active Symposium during which 17 invited thought leaders examined current knowledge about physical activity in diabetes and translated evidence into diabetes care and self-management education. This report summarizes the moderated discussion and key points of interest to health care professionals involved with diabetes care and education, including physicians and non-physician providers, diabetes educators, and community workers.


The Symposium aimed to develop practical advice for health care professionals regarding physical activity for people with diabetes.


Participants reviewed findings from the literature and engaged in a moderated roundtable discussion.


The discussion produced eight key points and several recommendations to help healthcare providers and diabetes education programs develop and implement successful physical activity interventions for people with diabetes.


Health care providers can effectively be part of a collaborative effort to give greater priority to inclusion of physical activity in diabetes care and education. Increased awareness of the benefits of physical activity is critical. Anyone with diabetes can engage in some level of exercise following a thorough medical evaluation. A physical activity assessment should be conducted on every patient with diabetes. The optimal physical activity prescription is detailed, individualized, and evidence-based. Providers should advise patients of resources that can help them be active. Providers and diabetes education programs are also urged to advocate for local fitness initiatives. Further research is needed to elucidate the outcomes of diabetes self-management interventions designed to increase appropriate physical activity in people with diabetes.


physical activity; diabetes; recommended strategies.

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