Patient and healthcare professionals perspectives on the delivery of exercise education for patients with type 1 diabetes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

External organisations

  • Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust


Objective: One way of improving the prognosis for the growing numbers of people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is to increase their frequency of exercise. One known barrier to this is the lack of cohesive support and information from care providers. To better understand the issues around existing support for patients wishing to exercise and inform the design of an education package specifically to facilitate safe exercise we interviewed care providers and patients about the existing provision of support.

Research Design and Methods: The study was based within two large UK teaching hospitals where four focus groups were undertaken two consisting of patients diagnosed with T1D who undertook regular exercise, and two with health care providers (HCPs) that were part of the diabetes care team. In all 14 patients and 11 staff were involved. These were complemented by two 1:1 interviews with staff unable to attend group discussions.

Results: We found the successful provision of education and advice was influenced by factors relating to the individual patient and their service provider. Patient factors included the type of activity and complexity of the exercise regime, the level of engagement with their condition and care and health literacy. Service-related factors included inconsistent training, a lack of capacity and continuity, and limited coherence of information from across their care team.

Conclusions: Any education package developed to support exercise in patients with type 1 diabetes should be offered at a time following diagnosis in accordance with patients' preferences and priorities, contain information on how to manage regular and irregular bouts of exercise. Patients described how they related more closely to the stories of their peers than famous sports stars and one way this can be facilitated is by group delivery. The content and relevance of any supporting materials should be closely considered. Training in the delivery of a novel education package should be made available to staff across the care team to enable them to either deliver the course or increase their confidence in offering salient advice as part of routine care.


Original languageEnglish
Article number76
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2019


  • type 1 diabetes (T1D), exercise, service delivery and organization, structured education program, staff development

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