A personalized approach to exercise promotion in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Melissa Spezia Faulkner, Sara Fleet Michaliszyn, Joseph T. Hepworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: This exploratory study tested the feasibility of conducting a novel, personalized exercise intervention based upon the current fitness levels of adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1DM). The relationships of perceptions of benefits and barriers to exercise, exercise self-efficacy and family support to exercise adherence and changes in cardiovascular (CV) fitness, quality of life (QOL), and glycemic control were studied.Methods: Adolescents who were sedentary received a graded exercise test to determine their current fitness level (VO2peak). A 16-wk personalized exercise program was developed for each adolescent based upon individual fitness level and exercise preferences. Pretest and posttest measures of exercise self-efficacy, benefits and barriers to exercise, family support, and diabetes QOL were completed. A1c levels were obtained using the DCA2000®. Adherence to exercise was measured using the Actigraph™ Accelerometer.Results: Twelve adolescents completed the study. Accelerometry data revealed adherence to 60 min of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day for a mean of 45.5 (SD = 23.9)% of the days the accelerometer was worn. Adolescents' perceptions of family support for exercise improved following the intervention (p = 0.03). Adolescents who had more daily bouts of exercise lasting 60 min increased their CV fitness (r = 0.59, p = 0.04). A1c remained unchanged.Conclusions: Encouraging 60 min of accumulated exercise bouts/d can improve fitness levels in adolescents with T1DM, minimizing future CV risks. Although physical activity increased in adolescents, family based strategies are required to promote current physical activity recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-174
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Diabetes
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Adolescents
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Parents
  • Physical fitness
  • Type 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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