research notes

Communicating diabetes best practices to clients: a preliminary investigation of educator perspectives.

Berry TR, Anders S, Chan CB, Bell RC. Abstract PURPOSE: The majority of people with type 2 diabetes do not meet dietary and physical activity recommendations. It is not well understood how diabetes educators translate diet and physical guidelines for their clients and if diabetes educators have sufficient resources to promote healthy eating and physical activity. This research addressed these questions through exploratory qualitative interviews. METHOD: A total of 13 diabetes educators who work in Alberta, Canada, were interviewed. RESULTS: The reasons for lack of client uptake of lifestyle recommendations were complex and interwoven. The strongest theme to emerge was the clients’ prior knowledge and skills affecting their ability to uptake knowledge. However, educators recognized that clients are affected by social, environmental, cultural, and personal factors. CONCLUSIONS: Health system and societal issues cause a cascade effect resulting in difficulties for both educators and clients. To achieve appropriate treatment of type 2 diabetes, changes need to occur at a health systems...

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Effectiveness of the First step Program delivered by professionals versus peers.

J Phys Act Health. 2009 Jul;6(4):456-62. Tudor-Locke C1, Lauzon N, Myers AM, Bell RC, Chan CB, McCargar L, Speechley M, Rodger NW.<   Abstract   BACKGROUND: To compare the effectiveness of a theory-based lifestyle physical activity (PA) program delivered to individuals with type 2 diabetes in diabetes education centers by professionals and peers. METHODS: Changes over 16 weeks in PA (steps/day) and related variables (weight, waist girth, resting heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures) were compared (RMANOVA) for two groups: 157 participants led by 13 different professionals versus 63 participants led by 5 peer leaders. RESULTS: Overall, the 81 male and 139 female participants (age = 55.7 +/- 7.3 years, BMI = 35.2 +/- 6.6) showed an incremental change of 4,059 +/- 3,563 steps/day, which translates into an extra 37 minutes of daily walking (P < .001). Statistically significant improvements were also seen in weight, waist girth, and blood pressure (all P < .001) and resting heart rate (P < .05). There were no significant differences in outcomes between professional and peer-led groups. CONCLUSIONS: A theory-based behavior modification program featuring simple feedback and monitoring tools, and with a proven element of flexibility in delivery, can be effective under real-world conditions while addressing inevitable concerns about resource allocation. Program delivery by peer leaders, in particular, could address a potential obstacle to dissemination by helping to alleviate existing high caseload demands on diabetes...

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Making Compromises: A Qualitative Study of Sugar Consumption Behaviors During Pregnancy

Abstract Objective To explore influences on women’s sugar consumption behaviors during pregnancy. Design Focused ethnography guided this qualitative study. Contrasting experiences between women with varying sugar intakes were investigated using semi-structured interviews. Setting Metropolitan area, Canada. Participants Fifteen women with varying intakes of added sugar, who were in the third trimester of their first pregnancy, participated in this study. Phenomenon of Interest Sugar consumption behaviors during pregnancy. Analysis Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis to inductively derive themes. Results Pregnant women increased their intake of sugars in an effort to achieve a compromise between meeting nutrition recommendations, lifestyle adjustments, physical symptoms, and cultural norms. Physical symptoms, lack of nutritional guidance, and social pressures were identified as barriers to achieving a diet low in sugars, whereas implementing dietary strategies guided by nutritional knowledge was a facilitator. Conclusions and Implications This research provides insights that may be used to design effective interventions to improve maternal health. Strategies to help pregnant women achieve a healthy diet and limit sugar intake should be guided by nutritional knowledge, dietary awareness, and internal motivations to engage in healthy dietary changes. The full article is available online at:...

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Gestational weight gain and early postpartum weight retention in a prospective cohort of alberta women.

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2012 Jul;34(7):637-47. Begum F1, Colman I, McCargar LJ, Bell RC. Abstract Objective: To describe gestational weight gain during pregnancy, adherence to Health Canada 2010 Gestational Weight Gain Guidelines, and the effects of weight gain on postpartum weight retention in women with different pre-pregnancy body mass indices. Method: Body weight data were collected from women during pregnancy and in the early postpartum period as part of this prospective cohort study; analyses are presented for the first 600 women recruited. Multilinear regression was used to assess associations between pre-pregnancy BMI, total gestational weight gain, and postpartum weight retention. Multinomial regression was used to assess adherence to guidelines for total weight gain and rates of weekly weight gain. Results: Women who gained above recommendations were more likely to be overweight (OR 5.5; 95% CI 2.7 to 10.9, P < 0.001) or obese (OR 6.5; 95% CI 2.5 to 16.5, P < 0.001) before pregnancy, to have a history of smoking (OR 1.96; 95% CI 1.18 to 3.26, P = 0.01), or to be nulliparous (OR 2.23; 95% CI 0.99 to 5.05, P = 0.054). Women who gained weight above recommendations (P < 0.001) and women with low income (P < 0.01) were more likely to retain higher body weight at three months postpartum. Seventy-one percent of participants exceeded recommended rates of weekly weight gain; average weekly weight gain of these women was 0.65 ± 0.17 kg. Conclusion: Pre-pregnancy BMI is a significant predictor of excessive weight gain in pregnancy. Higher gestational weight gain predisposes women to higher postpartum weight retention across all BMI categories. Future studies are warranted to design tools and intervention programs to monitor weight gain during...

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Changes in dietary and physical activity risk factors for type 2 diabetes in Alberta youth between 2005 and 2008.

Can J Public Health. 2013 Oct 31;104(7):e490-5. Forbes LE1, Fraser SN, Downs SM, Storey KE, Plotnikoff RC, Raine KD, Spence JC, Hanning RM, McCargar LJ. Abstract OBJECTIVE: Unhealthy dietary and physical inactivity patterns inspired many initiatives promoting healthy youth and healthy schools in Alberta between 2005 and 2008. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in the prevalence of lifestyle risk factors for type 2 diabetes (T2D) between two province-wide samples of Alberta adolescents (2005 and 2008). METHODS: The dietary and physical activity (PA) patterns of Alberta youth were assessed in two cross-sectional studies of grade 7-10 students, one in 2005 (n=4936) and one in 2008 (n=5091), using a validated web-survey. For each diabetes risk factor, participants were classified as either at risk or not at risk, depending on their survey results relative to cut-off values. Chi-square tests and logistic regression models were used to determine differences in risk factor prevalence between 2005 and 2008. RESULTS: Compared to 2005, mean BMI, energy intake, fat intake, glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) were lower in 2008 (p<0.05); and carbohydrate, protein, fibre and vegetable and fruit intakes were higher in 2008 (p<0.05). In 2008, a lower proportion of students were: overweight, obese, consuming high GI, high GL, high fat, low fibre, low veg/fruit intake (p<0.05). No differences existed in magnesium or PA levels between the two time points. CONCLUSIONS: Improvements were observed between 2005 and 2008 in terms of the proportion of adolescents having specific risk factors for T2D. The cause of these changes could not be determined. Continued monitoring of adolescent lifestyle habits and monitoring of exposure to health promotion programming is...

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Choosing healthier foods in recreational sports settings: a mixed methods investigation of the impact of nudging and an economic incentive.

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2014 Jan 22;11:6. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-11-6. Olstad DL1, Goonewardene LA, McCargar LJ, Raine KD.   Abstract BACKGROUND: Nudging is an approach to environmental change that alters social and physical environments to shift behaviors in positive, self-interested directions. Evidence indicates that eating is largely an automatic behavior governed by environmental cues, suggesting that it might be possible to nudge healthier dietary behaviors. This study assessed the comparative and additive efficacy of two nudges and an economic incentive in supporting healthy food purchases by patrons at a recreational swimming pool. METHODS: An initial pre-intervention period was followed by three successive and additive interventions that promoted sales of healthy items through: signage, taste testing, and 30% price reductions; concluding with a return to baseline conditions. Each period was 8 days in length. The primary outcome was the change in the proportion of healthy items sold in the intervention periods relative to pre- and post-intervention in the full sample, and in a subsample of patrons whose purchases were directly observed. Secondary outcomes included change in the caloric value of purchases, change in revenues and gross profits, and qualitative process observations. Data were analyzed using analysis of covariance, chi-square tests and thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Healthy items represented 41% of sales and were significantly lower than sales of unhealthy items (p < 0.0001). In the full sample, sales of healthy items did not differ across periods, whereas in the subsample, sales of healthy items increased by 30% when a signage + taste testing intervention was implemented (p < 0.01). This increase was maintained when prices of healthy items were reduced by 30%, and when all interventions were removed. When adults were alone they purchased more healthy items compared to when children were present during food purchases (p < 0.001), however parental choices were not substantially better than choices made by children alone. CONCLUSIONS: This study found mixed evidence for the efficacy of nudging in cueing healthier dietary behaviors. Moreover, price reductions appeared ineffectual in this setting. Our findings point to complex, context-specific patterns of effectiveness and suggest that nudging should not supplant the use of other strategies that have proven to promote healthier dietary...

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