Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Epidemiology & Community Health

First Advisor

Diane Wilson


Purpose: To evaluate the physical activity patterns of diabetic adults by the type of treatment they received Method: The study used secondary data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2001 to 2006. NHANES is a continuous study which measures the health and nutritional status of non-institutionalized citizens in the United States. To be eligible for the study, participants had to be an adult 18 years or older who responded during the interview phase of the survey that they had diabetes. Participants with any missing data pertaining to the variables were excluded. After exclusions, the final size of the study population was 957. The type of treatment was defined as: insulin only, oral antidiabetic medication only, or neither. Physical activity was defined according to the guidelines set forth by the American Diabetes Association. A logistic model was used to assess the association between the type of treatment and regular physical activity. All data analyses were performed using SAS 9.1. Results: Overall, only 28.2% of the study participants were involved in regular physical activity. With respect to the type of treatment they received, a majority of the participants (69.9%) took oral antidiabetic medication, while 23.1% used insulin. Only 7.1% didn’t take antidiabetic medication or insulin. Most of the study participants were either overweight or obese (86.1%). In relation to diabetes treatment type, the frequency of taking oral antidiabetic medication among those who were diagnosed with diabetes when they were 40 years of age or older was greater (76.9%) than the frequency of insulin use (64.9%) . Among this segment of the population, 81.6% didn’t use insulin or oral antidiabetic medication. Study participants who had diabetes for five years or less were more likely to take oral antidiabetic medication only, with 47.7% taking oral antidiabetic medication compared to 33.2% taking insulin. The crude odds ratio for insulin treatment and physical activity was 0.72 (CI, 0.32-1.61) while the crude odds ratio for treatment consisting of oral antidiabetic medication and physical activity was 0.61 (CI, 0.31-1.21). After adjusting for confounding, the odds of being physically active for patients on insulin treatment was 0.62 (CI, 0.28-1.39), and for those on oral antidiabetic medication the odds of being physically active was 0.53 (CI, 0.27-1.08), indicating that there was no statistical significance between either treatment group and physical activity participation. Conclusions: Although not statistically significant, the prevalence of regular physical activity was highest (37.3%) among diabetic individuals who used neither insulin nor oral antidiabetic medication to control their diabetes, while 26.7% of participants who used oral antidiabetic drugs and 30% of participants who used insulin exercised regularly. However, the failure to participate in physical activity is a common problem among all diabetics, irrespective of group distinctions. Thus, all diabetics should be encouraged to participate in physical activity to reduce future complications.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2009

Included in

Epidemiology Commons