INTRODUCTION & AIMS

Type 2 diabetes prevalence increases with ageing, affecting over half a million older Australians. Medicare type 2 diabetes group interventions can support older adults’ diabetes management. However, Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) delivered service feasibility and acceptability is yet to be assessed. This study aimed to assess feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a Medicare type 2 diabetes group exercise and education intervention for older adults.

METHODS

This study was a single arm feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy trial of an AEP delivered type 2 diabetes group service for older adults. Participants attended the Diabetes Clinic once per week for 8 weeks, for a group exercise and education session. Attendance, participation, enjoyment, suitability, usefulness, and pre-post clinical health outcomes were assessed.

RESULTS

The intervention was feasible and acceptable, with 40 participants (71.8±4.5 years old, range 65-81 years, 45% female) attending 87% of sessions, with high treatment compliance within sessions (aerobic training: 86%; resistance training: 86%; education: 87%). Almost all participants (97%) strongly agreed that the program was enjoyable. Significant post intervention improvements (mean difference [95% CI]) were observed for right arm systolic blood pressure (SBP) (-7mmHg [-12, -2], p=0.007), left arm diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (-3mmHg [-5, -0], p=0.021), body weight (-0.7kg [-1.3, -0.0], p=0.039), waist circumference (-1.3cm [-2.2, -0.4], p=0.006), 6-minute walk test (22.8m, [9.1. 36.5], p=0.002), 5 times sit to stand (-0.8sec [-1.2, -0.5], p<0.001), short physical performance battery ordinal scale (0.3 [0.1, 0.5], p=0.009), and whole-body muscle strength (32.2kg [22.3, 42.1], p<0.001).

CONCLUSION

Older adults attended and enjoyed the AEP led Diabetes Clinic program, while also improving fitness and cardiometabolic health outcomes. Ways to enhance referrals and engage older adults in the programs warrant further investigation. The potential for additional sessions to achieve greater physical activity engagement and diabetes self-management should be further investigated.

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Author notes

First author’s contact: [email protected]