The feasibility of a physical activity intervention for adults within routine diabetes care: a process evaluation

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  • Lynsay Matthews
  • Alison Kirk
  • Mary McCallum
  • Nanette Mutrie
  • Ann Gold
  • Andrew Keen

Physical activity is an important factor in diabetes management but is rarely implemented within routine diabetes care. The purpose of this process evaluation was to explore the feasibility of a 12-month pilot physical activity consultation intervention delivered for adults within routine diabetes care. A 12-month pilot physical activity consultation intervention was delivered, including face-to-face consultations at baseline, and at six and 12 months. Additional brief consultations were conducted monthly between baseline and six months via telephone, email or face-to-face. Consultations were led by a physical activity consultant trained and experienced in health psychology and lifestyle behaviour change. Multiple process evaluation measures were conducted including: interviews; email communication; online survey; and intervention session summaries. Additional outcomes explored participant characteristics (n = 89), attendance, adherence and the feasibility of collecting measurable outcomes for physical activity, BMI, HbA1c and psychological wellbeing. Appropriate methods and outcomes were used to facilitate implementation in a ‘real-life’ setting, as opposed to typical research settings. The intervention was feasible with high protocol fidelity, adoption by staff, and positive participant feedback. The role of ‘champions’ (consultant diabetologist and two health psychologists) was identified as a key factor in the positive evaluation of the intervention. Three changes were made to the intervention to address the complex support needs of the sample. Challenges were identified with collecting questionnaire data within the time allocation of consultations. Although not reaching statistical significance, findings suggest improvements in physical activity levels, BMI and several aspects of psychological wellbeing. It was concluded that physical activity consultation is a feasible method of promoting physical activity to adults with diabetes in routine diabetes care. The challenge lies in the translation of physical activity interventions for everyday practice while balancing the need for measurable outcomes with effective delivery. Copyright 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12a
Number of pages7
JournalPractical Diabetes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Feb 2017

    Research areas

  • diabetes, physical activity, process evaluation, routine diabetes care, translation

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Matthews, L, Kirk, A, McCallum, M, Mutrie, N, Gold, A & Keen, A 2017, 'The feasibility of a physical activity intervention for adults within routine diabetes care: a process evaluation' Practical Diabetes, vol 34, no. 1, pp. 7-12a, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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