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Logo of bmcphBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Public Health
BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 514.
Published online Jul 10, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-514
PMCID: PMC3506518
Perceived need to increase physical activity levels among adults at high risk of type 2 diabetes. A cross-sectional analysis within a community-based diabetes prevention project FIN-D2D
Kati Vähäsarja,corresponding author1 Sanna Salmela,1 Jari Villberg,1 Pauli Rintala,2 Mauno Vanhala,3,4,5 Timo Saaristo,6,7 Markku Peltonen,8 Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi,9,10,11 Eeva Korpi-Hyövälti,12 Urho M Kujala,1 Leena Moilanen,13 Leo Niskanen,14,15 Heikki Oksa,7,16 and Marita Poskiparta1
1Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, 40014, Finland
2Department of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, 40014, Finland
3Family Practice Unit, Central Hospital Central Finland, Jyväskylä, 40620, Finland
4Family Practice Unit, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, 70210, Finland
5University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, 70211, Finland
6Finnish Diabetes Association, Tampere, 33680, Finland
7Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere, 33680, Finland
8National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, 00271, Finland
9Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu, Oulu, 90014, Finland
10Unit of General Practice, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, 90220, Finland
11Health Centre of Oulu, Oulu, 90100, Finland
12Department of Internal Medicine, Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, 60220, Finland
13Department of Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, 70210, Finland
14Department of Medicine, Central Hospital Central Finland, Jyväskylä, 40014, Finland
15University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, 70211, Finland
16Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, 33521, Finland
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Kati Vähäsarja: kati.vahasarja/at/; Sanna Salmela: sanna.m.salmela/at/; Jari Villberg: jari.villberg/at/; Pauli Rintala: pauli.rintala/at/; Mauno Vanhala: mauno.vanhala/at/; Timo Saaristo: timo.saaristo/at/; Markku Peltonen: markku.peltonen/at/; Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi: skk/at/; Eeva Korpi-Hyövälti: eeva.korpi_hyovalti/at/; Urho M Kujala: urho.m.kujala/at/; Leena Moilanen: leena.moilanen/at/; Leo Niskanen: leo.niskanen/at/; Heikki Oksa: heikki.oksa/at/; Marita Poskiparta: marita.poskiparta/at/
Received December 14, 2011; Accepted June 21, 2012.
Increased physical activity is a cornerstone of type 2 diabetes prevention. The perception of a need to change is considered essential in behaviour change processes. However, the existing literature on individuals’ perceived need to change health behaviour is limited. In order to improve understanding of diabetes prevention through increased physical activity levels (PAL), we assessed factors associated with perceiving a need to increase PAL among adults at high risk of diabetes.
Opportunistic screening was used within a primary-care based lifestyle intervention covering 10 149 men and women at high risk of type 2 diabetes. Data were obtained at baseline visits. The explored determinants were demographic, anthropometric/clinical, behavioural and psychosocial characteristics, along with four categories of PAL awareness. Logistic regression was used in the analysis.
74% of men (n = 2 577) and 76% of women (n = 4 551) perceived a need to increase their PAL. The participants most likely to perceive this need were inactive, had a larger waist circumference, rated their PAL as insufficient, and were at the contemplation stage of change. Smoking, elevated blood pressure, dyslipidaemia, and a family history of diabetes were not associated with this perception. The likelihood was also greater among women with less perceived fitness and less education. Demographic factors other than education did not determine participants’ perceived need to increase PAL. PAL overestimators were less likely to perceive the need to increase their PAL than realistic inactive participants.
Subjective rather than objective health factors appear to determine the perception of a need to increase PAL among adults at high risk of diabetes. Client perceptions need to be evaluated in health counselling in order to facilitate a change in PAL. Practical descriptions of the associations between metabolic risk factors, PAL, and diabetes are needed in order to make the risk factors concrete for at-risk individuals.
Keywords: Physical activity, Exercise, Behaviour change, Perception, Awareness, Type 2 diabetes, Prevention, FIN-D2D, Lifestyle intervention
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