Educational Level Is Related to Physical Fitness in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes - A Cross-Sectional Study.


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Educational Level Is Related to Physical Fitness in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes - A Cross-Sectional Study.
PloS one
Allet L., Giet O., Barral J., Junod N., Durrer D., Amati F., Sykiotis G.P., Marques-Vidal P., Puder J.J.
1932-6203 (Electronic)
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Publication types: Journal Article
Publication Status: epublish
Low educational level (EL) and low physical fitness are both predictors of increased morbidity and mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes. It is unknown if EL is related to physical fitness. This would have important implication for the treatment approach of patients of low EL.
In 2011/12, we invited participants of a new nationwide Swiss physical activity program for patients with type 2 diabetes to participate in this study. EL was defined by self-report and categorized as low (mandatory education), middle (professional education) or high (high school/university). Physical fitness was determined using 5 validated measures that assessed aerobic fitness, functional lower limb muscle strength, walking speed, balance and flexibility. Potential confounder variables such as other socio-cultural factors, physical activity level, body composition, diabetes-related parameters and complications/co-morbidities as well as well-being were assessed.
All invited 185 participants (mean age 59.6 ±9.8 yrs, 76 women) agreed to be included. Of all patients, 23.1% had a low, 32.7% a middle and 44.2% a high EL; 41.8% were professionally active. The study population had a mean BMI of 32.4±5.2 kg/m2 and an HbA1c of 7.3±1.3%. The mean diabetes duration was 8.8±7.4 years. In the baseline assessment, higher EL was associated with increased aerobic fitness, increased functional lower limb muscle strength, and increased walking speed using linear regression analysis (values for low, middle and high EL, respectively: 91.8 ± 27.9, 116.4 ± 49.7 and 134.9 ± 60.4 watts for aerobic fitness (p = 0.002), 15 ± 4.7, 13.9 ± 2.7, 12.6 ± 2.9 seconds for strength (p = 0.001) and 8.8 ± 1.6, 8.3 ± 1.4, 7.8 ± 1.4 seconds for walking speed (p = 0.004)). These associations were independent of potential confounders. Overall, aerobic fitness was 46%, functional limb muscle strength 16%, and walking speed 11% higher in patients of high compared to those of low EL. EL was not related to balance or flexibility.
A main strength of the present study is that it addresses a population of importance and a factor (EL) whose understanding can influence future interventions. A second strength is its relatively large sample size of a high-risk population. Third, unlike studies that have shown an association between self-reported fitness and educational level we assessed physical fitness measures by a quantitative and validated test battery using assessors blinded to other data. Another novelty is the extensive evaluation of the role of many relevant confounder variables.
In conclusion, we show that in patients with type 2 diabetes EL correlates favorably and independently with important health-related physical fitness measures such as aerobic fitness, walking speed, and lower limb strength. Our findings underline that diabetic patients with low EL should be specifically encouraged to participate in physical activity intervention programs to further reduce social disparities in healthcare. Such programs should be structured and integrate the norms, needs and capacities (financial, time, physical capacities and self-efficacy) of this population, and their effectiveness should be tested in future studies.
University of Lausanne NCT01289587.
Aged, Body Mass Index, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/physiopathology, Educational Status, Female, Humans, Linear Models, Male, Middle Aged, Muscle Strength, Physical Fitness/physiology, Postural Balance, Self Report, Walking
Open Access
Swiss National Science Foundation / Careers / PZ00P3-149398
Create date
19/10/2016 12:18
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21/11/2022 9:27
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