Diet and physical activity in the self management of type 2 diabetes: barriers and facilitators identified by patients and health professionals

Alison Booth, Carole Lowis, Moira Dean, Steven Hunter, Michelle McKinley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


To explore the views of individuals recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in relation to self-management of dietary intake and physical activity, and to compare these with the views of health professionals (HPs).
Diabetes education has become a priority area in primary and secondary care, and many education programmes are now embedded within a patient's care package. There are few contemporaneous explorations of patients’ views about lifestyle self-management. Such research is vital in order to identify areas that require further support, refinement or enhancement in terms of patient education.

Focus groups were held with patients recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (n = 16, 38% female, aged 45–73 years). In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with HPs (n = 7). Discussions focussed on self-management specifically in relation to making dietary and physical activity changes. All discussions were tape recorded, transcribed and analysed by emergent themes analysis using NVivo to manage the coded data.

Barriers were divided into six main categories: difficulty changing well-established habits, negative perception of the ‘new’ or recommended regimen, barriers relating to social circumstances, lack of knowledge and understanding, lack of motivation and barriers relating to the practicalities of making lifestyle changes. HPs generally echoed the views of patients. In conclusion, even against a background of diabetes education, recently diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes discussed a wide range of barriers to self-management of diet and physical activity. The findings could help to provide HPs with a deeper understanding of the needs of recently diagnosed patients and may help refine current diabetes education activities and inform the development of educational resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293 -306
JournalPrimary Health Care Research and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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