The aim of this study was to gain insight into the exercise practices, in conjunction with dietary habits and medication routine of insulin dependent diabetics. The study design adopted for the study was that of descriptive and analytical survey. The gathering of data was conducted over a period of seven months using a questionnaire as a data collection instrument, which was administered to 200 insulin dependent diabetics utilizing the outpatient facilities at 12 hospitals in Kwa-Zulu Natal. In determining the respondent's attitude towards exercise, the significant (p<0.001) overall majority (85%) had a positive attitude towards exercise. In probing the perceived efficacy of exercise as a therapeutic modality, a significant (p<0.001) majority (93%) of the respondents stated that exercise/sport is beneficial to a diabetic. Of the overall sample, the significant (p<0.001) majority (68%) of respondents were active participants in exercise (exercisers) versus 32% who were not active (non-exercisers). The profile of the exercisers indicated that the significant (p<0.001) majority participated in exercise of an aerobic type at frequency of 4 or more times per week, at an intensity eliciting an approximate heart rate of between 110 to 130 beats per minute corresponding with an RPE of 11 to 13, for a duration of 20 to 45 minutes. A significant (p<0.001) overall majority (98%) stated that a good diet is an important factor when trying to achieve near normoglycemia. In probing the respondent's knowledge as to what group certain types of food belong to, an overall significant (p<0.001) majority (82%) was accurate in this regard, while significantly (p<0.1) more exercisers (84%) were aware of correct food grouping than non-exercisers (67%). In probing their knowledge of the normal range of blood glucose levels, an overall significant (p<0.001) number of respondents (66%) stated a correct response, while exercisers (67%) were significantly (p<0.1) more knowledgeable than non-exercisers (52%) in this regard. The significant (p<0.001) majority of respondents injected themselves three and more times a day (54%), before meals (71%), in the thigh (35%) and abdominal areas (48%), as opposed to the gluteal area (10%) and the arm (8%). The mean overall dosage of long-acting insulin (12.2 units) and short-acting insulin (10.5 units) for lunch was significantly lower (p<0.1) than for breakfast and supper, however there was no significant difference (p>0.1) between the breakfast and supper dosages. The same pattern was observed for non-exercisers and exercisers. The respondent's knowledge of good diabetic management goals reflected that a significant (p<0.001) overall majority (83%) were aware that diet, insulin and exercise are all important constituents in obtaining good diabetic management, while significantly (p<0.1) more exercisers (84%) than non-exercisers (71%) were aware of this. A significant (p<0.001) majority (83%) of non-exercises stated that they were willing to participate in exercise, but cited time constraints and physical discomfort, inter-alia, as antecedents to non-participation. In conclusion, the results indicated that the provision of educational support for insulin dependent diabetics to overcome the perceived barriers to exercise would increase participation, enhance appropriate exercise prescription and compliance to this important aspect of the diabetic regimen.
Dissertation (MA (Human Movement Science))--University of Pretoria, 2002.