Effectiveness of an 8 week community-based exercise and education program for people with diabetes: short-term clinical; physical and psychosocial outcomes of the BEAT IT Program

Morwenna Kirwan, Christine L. Chiu, Mellissa Hay*, Thomas Laing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Aims:Regular physical activity is an integral component of effective diabetes management. This study aimed to assess outcomes of an 8 week physical activity and lifestyle program (BEAT IT) in people with diabetes. BEAT IT is a community-based intervention offered under the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS)* and delivered by Accredited Exercise Physiologists. 
Methods: Participants in NSW and the ACT were recruited via the NDSS database. They attended twice weekly group exercise and education sessions over 8 weeks. Anthropometric, HbA1c and physical fitness measures were assessed at baseline and following program completion. Information regarding self-efficacy and psychosocial measures were also collected. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and a repeated measures ANOVA with p< 0.01 considered significant.
Results: A total of 674 participants were included. The mean age of 65.4 ± 9.0 years; 58.3% were female and 90% reported a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. Weight (90.75 ± 18.9kg vs 90.07 ± 18.7kg, p<0.001) and waist circumference (110.17 ± 15.1cm vs 107.15 ± 14.5cm, p<0.001) were significantly reduced post program. In participants with baseline Hba1c measurements above 7% (n=83), a significant reduction was observed (7.975 ± 0.9% vs 7.724 ± 0.8%, p<0.01), with 17 (20%) under 7% post program. Significant improvements in cardiovascular fitness; upper and lower body strength; balance and flexibility; self-efficacy; and psychosocial measures (including depression, anxiety and stress) were also observed (P<0.001). Improved dietary habits (59.6%); energy levels (60.2%); and social networks (61.3%) were also reported.
Conclusions: Preliminary results indicate participation in the 8 week BEAT IT program leads to significant improvements in clinical measures; physical fitness; and psychosocial outcomes in adults living with diabetes. Follow-up data at 3 and 12 months is needed to determine whether these positive outcomes can be maintained longer term. 
*The NDSS is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia. 1. Diabetes NSW & ACT, Glebe NSW2. Macquarie University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Australia
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2019
EventAustralasian Diabetes Congress - International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 21 Aug 201923 Aug 2019


ConferenceAustralasian Diabetes Congress
Abbreviated titleADC
Internet address


  • diabetes
  • exercise
  • self-management
  • chronic disease
  • physical activity
  • resistance training
  • Translational


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