Main content area

Physical Activity and Type 2 Diabetes : Exploring the Role of Gender and Income

Barrett, Jennifer E., Plotnikoff, Ronald C., Courneya, Kerry S., Raine, Kim D.
The Diabetes educator 2007 v.33 no.1 pp. 128-143
analysis of variance, cognition, demography, gender, income, interviews, issues and policy, men, noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, self-efficacy, teachers, telephones, walking, women
Purpose The purpose of this study was to explore (1) patterns in physical activity behaviors and (2) the meaning and personal significance of social cognitive theory (SCT) constructs on physical activity, across gender and income groups among people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Methods Albertans, 18 years and older (x- = 63, SD = 12.08) with T2DM (N =1614) completed self-report measures of demographic characteristics and physical activity. Two-way, between-groups analyses of variance (ANOVAs) assessed main and interaction effects of gender and income on leisure time physical activity (LTPA). A subsample of these participants (n = 20) subsequently completed qualitative telephone interviews to provide contextual understanding of the quantitative data and to explore salient SCT influences on physical activity. Results Significant findings indicated that men participate in more LTPA than women do, and those from the highest income group participate in more LTPA than low-or middle-income groups (P < .01). Interview results suggested that walking is the most popular form of physical activity; however, gender and income groups differ in other leisure and nonleisure physical activities. Furthermore, patterns for SCT constructs related to physical activity were apparent across gender and income, most noticeably for self-efficacy and environmental and situational influences. Specifically among men, noteworthy differences existed between income groups for self-control and reinforcement strategies. Conclusions The study highlights the need for more sensitive self-report measures and objective measures of physical activity to help distinguish whether true differences exist between certain demographic groups. Moreover, interventions that promote walking may be beneficial for people with T2DM, provided that appropriate environmental and policy changes occur to accommodate walking and other physical activity behaviors.