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Keywords:

  • home-based aerobic exercise;
  • glycosylated haemoglobin;
  • peak oxygen uptake;
  • children and adolescents;
  • type 1 diabetes mellitus

Aims.  To explore the effects of exercise programme on glycosylated haemoglobin and peak oxygen uptake in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Background.  Regular exercise has been shown to be effective in blood glucose control, which includes improving glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, decreasing glycosylated haemoglobin levels and improving cardiorespiratory fitness.

Design.  Quasi-experimental design with a twelve-week home-based aerobic exercise programme.

Method.  Twenty-eight participants completed the study: 12 in the home-based exercise group, 11 in the non-exercise control group and five in the self-directed exercise group. A mixed model was used to capture longitudinal change in glycosylated haemoglobin levels.

Results.  The home-based aerobic exercise group showed no significant effect on glycemic control and peak oxygen uptake in this study across assessment times. However, a group difference in glycosylated haemoglobin levels at the nine-month follow-up was significant (general linear model: F = 4·06, p = 0·03). A Bonferroni test indicated that glycosylated haemoglobin levels in the home-based exercise group were higher than in the self-directed exercise group (p < 0·05) and higher in the control group than in the self-directed exercise group (p < 0·05) at the nine-month follow-up. Home-based aerobic exercise showed no significant effect on peak oxygen uptake in this study.

Conclusions.  A three-month home-based aerobic exercise programme has no significant effect on glycosylated haemoglobin and peak oxygen uptake levels in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Our exercise programme has designed that children can practice exercise at home and is a viable component of self-care intervention to improve patient’s self-care skill and diabetes care control. However, how to encourage patients to adhere the exercise programme is a challenge for health care providers.