Type 2 Diabetes – Motivational Intervention for Physical Fitness


For many people, motivation is a big stumbling block in achieving and maintaining physical fitness – let us face it! There are so many things more interesting than adding exercise to our day. Like taking a nap, or perhaps eating a snack. However, enough of this negative thinking. In July of 2018, the European Journal of Public Health reported on a study showing people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes taking part in motivational intervention therapy were able to improve their physical status better than those people with diabetes not receiving such assistance.

Researchers at the University of Naples in Italy…

  • assigned 69 people with Type 2 diabetes to 12 motivational group meetings focused on physical activity, along with a 9-month program of aerobic, resistance, agility, and balance exercises program.
  • another 90 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes received the usual physical activity recommendations.

By the end of the program, the people receiving the motivational intervention therapy showed improvements in…

  • their average body mass index (BMI) from 29.3 to 27.3 kg/meter squared, and
  • their average HbA1c levels from 6.5 to 6.1 percent.
  • the average waist size went from 104.2 centimeters to 95.6 cm.

The participants not receiving any motivational enforcement improved only in upper body strength and agility. The other participants in the motivational intervention group habitually performed more physical activity than the non-interventional group.

From the above results, the investigators concluded motivational intervention and a physical fitness program were more effective than physical activity recommendations alone.

Motivational intervention therapy consists of five main principles…

First, counselors show empathy for clients. By being non-judgemental therapists can develop a trusting relationship and get to know patients’ unique barriers to physical activity.

Second, therapists have their clients find their reasons to become more active, rather than lecturing and giving expert advice.

Third, when resistance to positive change occurs, counselors see the opposition as a failure of counseling rather than as a failure of the client. They encourage their client to delve into their reasons for resistance and promote changes in ways of thinking about physical activity.

Fourth, counselors help enable their client to reach their goals by pointing out earlier successes they have achieved. Completing a physical education course or sticking to a regular schedule of physical activity in the past might serve as examples.

Fifth and last, counselors encourage the client to take responsibility and credit for their success, listening as they develop their steps to achieve their goals.