Interventions to increase physical activity in people with type 2 diabetes often have small effects that are not sustained, and consequently have limited benefits for health. Sedentary behaviour (sitting and lying down) is associated with increased illness and mortality, independent of levels of physical activity. Therefore an alternative approach to improve health in people with diabetes may be to aim for a reduction in time spent sedentary.
Our aim is to develop interventions to reduce or modify sedentary behaviour in people with, or at high risk of, type 2 diabetes. The specific aims of this programme are:
- to conduct studies looking at behavioural approaches to healthy weight management for people with type 2 diabetes, with a focus on improving food choice and eating patterns and reducing energy intake
- to use existing, and develop novel, wearable technologies to monitor eating patterns and activity behaviour, and provide feedback to reinforce behaviour change and guide actions to reduce energy intake (such as reduced snacking) or increase energy expenditure (such as increasing walking/cycling)
- to measure changes in sedentary behaviour using new technologies and to determine how these are associated with changes in physical and metabolic characteristics
- to develop interventions to reduce sedentary time
- to develop dietary assessment tools (the UK diabetes and diet questionnaire)
- to promote active transport for example by using electric bikes
- to pilot these interventions in people with type 2 diabetes and at high risk of type 2 diabetes
- to determine how feasible these interventions are by measuring recruitment rates, how tolerable they are, how easy they are to adhere to, whether people comply with the trial, and retention rates.
Diabetes and COVID-19
People with diabetes are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. A project supported by Diabetes UK explored the impact of cancellation of diabetes education, routine check-up appointments, and peer-support groups due to the government’s distancing measures. The research findings will assist Diabetes UK in making decisions on the type of support people with diabetes need and how it should be provided.