Association between physical activity & sedentary time on frailty status in adults living with diabetes mellitus

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University of New Brunswick


BACKGROUND: Increased physical activity (PA) is as a cornerstone for the prevention and the treatment of diabetes mellitus (DM) and frailty. However, no consensus exists on which types of PA, resistance training (RT), and sedentary time are associated with frailty status among individuals living with DM. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between time engaged in PA, RT, and sedentary time on frailty status in males and females living with DM. METHODS: A cross-sectional analysis of 711 participants living with self-reported DM from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was performed. Frailty status was measured using the 46-item deficit model. PA levels were measured by accelerometer, while RT was measured via questionnaire. RESULTS: RT was not associated with frailty status, while total time spent performing light PA was associated with improved frailty status (p<0.05). In women only, total moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) was associated with improved frailty status (p<0.05), while sedentary time was associated with worsened frailty status (p<0.05). Every minute performing MVPA was associated with a 5% and 6% lower likelihood of frailty in men and women, respectively (all p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Although RT is not associated with improved frailty status, each minute performing PA is associated with improved frailty status in men and women with DM. For women with DM, replacing sedentary time with PA is especially important for reducing frailty. These results provide further understanding on types of PA and sex differences in relation to prevention and management of frailty for individuals with DM.