The objective of this study was to assess the habitual physical activity of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) patients on intensive insulin therapy. This case-control study consisted of 34 IDDM patients (14 on multiple injection therapy, 20 on continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion [CSII], and control subjects matched for sex, age, weight, height, body mass index, smoking behavior, and occupational status). Seven IDDM patients were studied before and after changing from multiple injection to CSII therapy. All patients were well controlled according to HbA1c. Portable motion meters were used to assess habitual physical activity during 7 consecutive days with appreciable reproducibility (coefficient of variation 1.24%) and agreement to standardized activity protocols (r = 0.96, P < 0.001). Habitual physical activity was similar in IDDM patients on injection treatment and in controls, respectively. CSII-treated patients exhibited on the average 17% less habitual physical activity than control subjects (P < 0.05). Changing from multiple injection therapy to CSII lowered habitual physical activity insignificantly in seven patients. There was no indication of decreasing physical exercise (e.g., sports) by CSII in this patient group. No correlations were found between habitual physical activity and HbA1c or body mass index, respectively. Habitual physical activity is similar in IDDM patients on multiple injection therapy and control subjects, but may decrease by CSII therapy.

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