Increased physical activity may help adolescents with type 1 diabetes better manage their disease, but wearing a pedometer and receiving motivational text messages do not appear to get them moving, study findings suggest.
The 78 teenagers, 11 and 18 years old boys, were randomly assigned to wear pedometers and receive weekly text messages to encouraging them to get more physical activity, or they were assigned to standard care.
At the end of the 12-year study, the intervention group was not significantly more or less active than the standard care group, reports Kirsty H. Newton, a diabetes nurse specialist at University of Otago Wellington, in New Zealand, and colleagues.
The "gadget appeal" of the pedometers quickly wore off, Newton's team notes in their study, published in the journal Diabetes Care. Over the course of the study, 37 percent of the pedometer/text group stopped wearing the pedometers.
The teens, on average, reported 11,063 steps per day at the start of the study.
By study end, Newton and colleagues found that the average daily step count had actually declined by 840 and 22 steps in the intervention and control groups, respectively.
Participants' post-study blood sugar levels, body mass, and blood pressure also remained virtually the same as pre-study measures. However, the pedometer/text group showed a trend toward lower quality of life measures from study onset.
The small number of very active and very inactive adolescents included in this intervention study made it "difficult to show a difference that is statistically significant," Newton told Reuters Health.
She suggests future investigations examine ways to encourage specific groups, such as low-active girls, to increase their physical activity.