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Open Access Research article

A population study on the association between leisure time physical activity and self-rated health among diabetics in Taiwan

Chia-Lin Li1, Yi-Chang Lai1, Chin-Hsiao Tseng2, Jen-Der Lin3 and Hsing-Yi Chang4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Care Management, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan

2 Department of Medical Research and Development, National Taiwan University Hospital Yun-Lin Branch and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan

4 Division for Health Policy Research and Development, Institute for Population Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, 35 Keyan Road, Zhunan Town, Maoli County, Taiwan

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:277  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-277

Published: 26 May 2010

Abstract

Background

There is strong evidence for the beneficial effects of physical activity in diabetes. There has been little research demonstrating a dose-response relationship between physical activity and self-rated health in diabetics. The aim of this study was to explore the dose-response association between leisure time physical activity and self-rated health among diabetics in Taiwan.

Methods

Data came from the 2001 Taiwan National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Inclusion criteria were a physician confirmed diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and age 18 years and above (n = 797). Self-rated health was assessed by the question "In general, would you say that your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?" Individuals with a self perceived health status of good, very good, or excellent were considered to have positive health status.

Results

In the full model, the odds ratio (OR) for positive health was 2.51(95% CI = 1.53-4.13), 1.62(95% CI = 0.93-2.84), and 1.35(95% CI = 0.77-2.37), for those with a total weekly energy expenditure of ≥ 1000 kcal, between 500 and 999 kcal, and between 1 and 499 kcal, respectively, compared to inactive individuals. Those with duration over 10 years (OR = 0.53, 95%CI = 0.30-0.94), heart disease (OR = 0.50, 95%CI = 0.30-0.85), and dyslipidemia (OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.43-0.98) were less likely to have positive health than their counterparts. After stratified participants by duration, those with a duration of diabetes < 6 years, the adjusted OR for positive health was 1.95(95% CI = 1.02-3.72), 1.22(95% CI = 0.59-2.52), and 1.19(95% CI = 0.58-2.41) for those with a total weekly energy expenditure of ≥ 1000 kcal, between 500 and 999 kcal, and between 1 and 499 kcal, respectively, compared to inactive individuals. In participants with a duration of diabetes ≥ 6 years, total energy expenditure showed a gradient effect on self-perceived positive health. The adjusted OR for positive health was 3.45(95% CI = 1.53-7.79), 2.77(95% CI = 1.11-6.92), and 1.90(95% CI = 0.73-4.94) for those with a total weekly energy expenditure of ≥ 1000 kcal, between 500 and 999 kcal, and between 1 and 499 kcal, respectively, compared to inactive individuals.

Conclusions

Our results highlight that regular leisure activity with an energy expenditure ≧ 500 kcal per week is associated with better self-rated health for those with longstanding diabetes.