Positive reinforcement by general practitioners is associated with greater physical activity in adults with type 2 diabetes

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, 2019, 7, (1), pp. e000701-e000701
Issue Date:
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© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Objective In a sample of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the aim of this study was to examine whether self-reported physical activity level is associated with recall of specific physical activity-related interactions used by general practitioners (GP). Research design and methods Adults with T2DM completed an online survey reporting physical activity behaviors and recall of 14 GP-patient interactions about physical activity, mapped onto discrete behavior change techniques (BCT). Stepped logistical regression examined associations between recommended physical activity (≥600 MET-min/week) and GP-patient interactions, controlling for body mass index, diabetes-related comorbidities, depressive symptoms and self-efficacy. Results In total, 381 respondents (55% men, mean±SD age: 62±10 years and T2DM duration 8±8 years) provided complete data. Most (73%) reported receiving 'general advice', while interactions related to goal setting, monitoring, and relapse prevention were least commonly reported (all <20%). Self-reported achievement of the recommended physical activity level was significantly associated with recall of GP interactions involving praise for 'efforts to be active' (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.24 to 3.53), 'lost weight' (OR 1.81; 95% CI 1.05 to 3.12) or lowering 'glucose levels as a result of being active' (OR 1.75; 95% CI 1.03 to 2.96). Conclusions Findings suggest GPS can be somewhat effective in promoting physical activity with simple, positive, reinforcing messages/interactions. Future research to develop and evaluate very brief primary care BCT-based physical activity interventions is needed.
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