Hannah Regeer is a fourth year PhD student at the department of Internal Medicine at the Leiden University Medical Centre. She obtained her master’s degree in Health Psychology in 2017 at the University of Leiden. Her research focuses on behavior change in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. In particular, she studies the National Diabetes Challenge, a walking intervention that aims to improve physical activity behavior, and the psychological and somatic health in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. She started her research in 2017 at the Bas van de Goor Foundation (the developer and national coordinator of the intervention), which eventually led to a PhD project on behavior change.
Optimizing diabetes self-management and physical activity behavior is a difficult task for many people with type 2 diabetes mellitus, and a large proportion of this group fails in adapting towards a healthy lifestyle. Barriers to exercise or to make adjustments in diabetes self-management seem countless. Understanding the barriers to and facilitators of physical activity behavior would help in the development of more successful, feasible, and person-centered lifestyle interventions.
In recent years, the National Diabetes Challenge (NDC) has been able to mobilize a large group of people with and without diabetes in the Netherlands. During this intervention, people with diabetes are invited to participate in a weekly group walk for 20 weeks, which are organized and attended by health care providers. In order to get a better understanding of effective behavior change strategies, it would be insightful to identify the effective elements of the NDC. Therefore, this qualitative interview study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators to physical activity behavior in people with type 2 diabetes, and to examine how the NDC anticipates on these factors. As coding of the interviews is in the initial stages, only preliminary themes are available for discussion.
During this presentation, I will discuss several barriers that have influenced the physical activity behavior of participants with type 2 diabetes prior to their participation in the NDC. Subsequently, I will talk about the working elements of the NDC that seem to anticipate on these common barriers for physical activity. The social aspect of the intervention in particular seems to be a key element of the NDC