Adherence to physical activity (PA) recommendations is hampered by the lack of effective strategies to promote behavior change. The Italian Diabetes and Exercise Study 2 (IDES_2) is a randomized controlled trial evaluating a novel behavioral intervention strategy for increasing PA and decreasing sedentary time (SED-time) in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The study randomized 300 physically inactive and sedentary patients with type 2 diabetes 1:1 to receive theoretical and practical counseling once yearly for 3 years (intervention group [INT]) or standard care (control group [CON]). Here, we report the 4-month effects on objectively (accelerometer) measured daily light-intensity PA (LPA), moderate-to-vigorous–intensity PA (MVPA), and SED-time, and cardiovascular risk factors.
LPA and MVPA both increased, and SED-time decreased in both groups, although changes were significantly more marked in INT participants (approximately twofold for LPA and SED-time and approximately sixfold for MVPA). A significant reduction in HbA1c was observed only in INT subjects. An increase in LPA >0.92 h · day–1 and in MVPA >7.33 min · day–1 and a decrease in SED-time >1.05 h · day–1 were associated with an average decrease in HbA1c of ~1% and also with significant improvements in fasting glucose, body weight, waist circumference, and hs-CRP. Changes in PA and SED-time were independent predictors of improvements in HbA1c.
This behavioral intervention is effective in the short term for increasing LPA and MVPA and reducing SED-time. Significant improvements in cardiometabolic risk profiles were observed in subjects experiencing the most pronounced changes in PA and SED-time, even if below the recommended level.