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Keywords:

  • physical activity;
  • activity monitor;
  • energy intake;
  • adolescents;
  • Type 1 diabetes

Abstract

Aims  Girls with Type 1 diabetes often gain excessive weight during puberty. The aims of this study were to compare objectively assessed physical activity and energy intake in girls with Type 1 diabetes with those in healthy age-matched controls.

Methods  This prospective cohort study comprised 26 girls with Type 1 diabetes and 49 control girls. The mean age of the diabetic girls was 15.7 ± 2.1 years and that of the control girls 15.8 ± 2.1 years. In the diabetic group, mean haemoglobin A1c was 7.6 ± 1.4% and daily insulin dosage was 1.1 ± 0.3 U/kg. Physical activity was measured during 7 consecutive days with a uniaxial accelerometer, and energy intake was assessed concurrently with a 7-day food diary.

Results  There was a tendency towards lower total amount of physical activity in the diabetes group but the difference between the study groups did not reach statistical significance (Diabetes: 464 ± 123 counts/min/day; Controls: 523 ± 138 counts/min/day; P = 0.06). No difference was found between the groups regarding total energy intake (Diabetes: 8.5 ± 1.8 MJ/day; Controls: 8.4 ± 2.6 MJ/day). The carbohydrate intake was lower and the protein and fibre intakes were higher in girls with diabetes. No association was observed between physical activity, energy intake and HbA1c.

Conclusions  In this prospective cohort study, we found a tendency towards lower physical activity but no differences in energy intake between girls with Type 1 diabetes and age-matched controls. Larger studies are needed to further explore the importance of the total amount of physical activity for excessive weight gain in adolescent girls with Type 1 diabetes.