Exercise studies involving people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) have tested young, fit, men. As such, current insulin adjustment and carbohydrate intake advice may not work for women. A recent secondary analysis found different blood glucose (BG) responses to a weight lifting protocol between male and female T1D participants. It is unclear whether these differences were physiological (i.e., hormones, muscle mass, etc.) or behavioural (i.e., insulin adjustments, carbohydrate intake, etc.) . To explore gender-related differences in physical activity (PA) behaviours and preferences, we recruited men and women with T1D to take part in semi-structured interviews. Questions included demographics, perceived differences between genders (preferred type of PA, motivation, and barriers) , diabetes management strategies (i.e., insulin adjustments, carbohydrate intake, high intensity exercise, etc.) , and PA preferences (frequency, type, motivations, etc.) . Two analysts coded interview transcripts using a framework approach, through open coding of emergent themes. The most common themes were:
1) Impact of support on PA success. Both men and women made statements about support, or lack of support, from family members, medical providers, and group exercise. Women reported receiving support from their healthcare team, while men did not.
2) Strategies for BG management. This included reducing insulin pre-exercise and consuming extra carbohydrates. Few participants reported using intense exercise.
3) Barriers to PA. Men and women reported similar barriers, including hypoglycemia, time limitations, and lack of motivation. Women reported more concerns about dysglycemia.
4) Reasons to exercise. The main differences between genders were the importance of enjoyment for men and weight management for women. Overall, men and women with T1D possess similar barriers, sources of support, and BG management strategies around PA, despite differences in motivation.
J.E.Logan: None. M.Prevost: None. A.Brazeau: Research Support; Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi. S.Hart: None. M.Maldaner: None. J.E.Yardley: Research Support; Abbott, Dexcom, Inc., LifeScan, Speaker's Bureau; Abbott Diabetes.
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, University of Alberta Undergraduate Research Initiative