A study published in the February issue of Diabetes Care revealed that only 39 percent of people with type 2 diabetes get regular exercise, compared to 58 percent of people without diabetes. Among people who were at risk for the disease, as the number of risk factors increased, the amount of exercise decreased.
Following the study’s publication, over 228 news agencies picked up the story and headlined it in consistently critical terms, using such wording as “diabetic couch potato lifestyle,” “diabetics ignore doctors’ advice,” “diabetics shun exercise,” “diabetics refuse to exercise,” and “diabetics fail to stay fit.”
The study was led by Dr. Elaine Morrato, an assistant professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, who evaluated data from a nationally representative survey of over 23,000 U.S. adults. Respondents answered questions about whether they engaged in moderate or vigorous activity 30 minutes or more at least three times a week.
Dr. Morrato had previously led a study that found that three-fourths of people with type 2 diabetes had been urged by their doctors to exercise. She commented that the results of her current study provided very pessimistic data.
Dr. Larry Deeb, president of medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, spoke up in defense of the diabetic population, noting that diabetes complications can cause mobility problems. “We have to be careful not to blame the victims,” he said to the Associated Press. “There’s a difference between being unable and being unwilling.”
Sources: Diabetes Care; A.P.