Exercise engagement in people with prediabetes – a qualitative study

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Aims and objectives

To explore the experiences of people with prediabetes who engage in exercise, from the initiation of exercise to the discontinuation or continuation of exercise.


People with prediabetes are the high-risk group for developing type 2 diabetes. Engaging in exercise is an important health behaviour to prevent or delay this. However, many people with prediabetes fail to develop and maintain a regular exercise regime.


A grounded theory study.


Data were collected from August 2011–November 2012. Twenty participants with impaired fasting glucose from a medical centre in Taiwan were enrolled in this study for in-depth interview. The data were entered into NVivo 8·0 qualitative data management software after transcription and were analysed by constant comparative method.


A theory of the process by which people with prediabetes approach the development of exercise behaviour was developed, comprising four stages: developing awareness, creating the health blueprint, action cycle of internal struggle and developing spontaneous regular exercise. Developing awareness was the starting point for the process of implementing exercise. The core category was action cycle of struggle that all participants experienced this stage, and the spontaneous regular exercise was the highest level of exercise process.


It is not easy for people with prediabetes to develop a regular exercise regime. Exercise behaviour will be either continued or discontinued secondary to driving and resistive forces.

Relevance to clinical practice

This study provides useful information to help practitioners design exercise intervention strategies and provide psychological support to people with prediabetes.

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