Perceived barriers to healthy lifestyle activities in midlife and older Australian women with type 2 diabetes
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Background Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in midlife and older Australian women with known modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes including smoking, nutrition, physical activity and obesity. In Australia little research has been done to investigate the perceived barriers to healthy lifestyle activities in midlife and older women with type 2 diabetes. Aims The primary aim of this study was to explore the level and type of perceived barriers to health promotion activities. The secondary aim was to explore the relationship of perceived barriers to smoking behaviour, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and body mass index. Methods The study was a cross sectional survey of women, aged over 45 with type 2 diabetes, recruited from four metropolitan community health clinics (n = 41). Data were collected from self-report questionnaires and analysed using quantitative methods. Results Women in the study had average total barriers scores similar to those reported in the literature for women with a range of physical disabilities and illnesses. The leading barriers for this group of women were: lack of interest, concern about safety, too tired, lack of money and feeling what they do does not help. There was no association between total barriers scores and body mass index, physical activity, fruit and vegetable intake or socio-demographic variables. Conclusion This study contributes to understanding the perceptions of midlife and older women with type 2 diabetes about the level and type of barriers to healthy lifestyle activities that they experience. The participants reported a high level perceived barriers with a range of personal, social and environmental issues identified and described. This study suggests that health promotion education and interventions for risk factor reduction in women with type 2 diabetes may be enhanced by explicitly addressing perceived barriers to healthy lifestyle activities.
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