Back to top

ARC East Midlands Director reveals link between self-management education and physical activity for people with multimorbidity

Disease self-management education does not improve physical activity amongst those with multimorbidity, a study by a team of Leicester researchers has concluded. 

Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of ARC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, teamed up with other well-known academics to examine whether physical activity levels in those with multimorbidity increase as a result of structured education. 

The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of a structured, theoretically driven, self-management group education programme on habitual exercise levels in people who have two or more long-term medical conditions.  

During the investigation, 353 adults with multimorbidity attended four group-based self-management sessions, centred primarily on increasing physical activity levels. Additionally, each participant received motivational and supportive text messages throughout the entire duration of the trial.

The team of researchers measured the participants’ physical activity levels from GENEActiv wrist-worn accelerometer devices. 

They found that on average the participants achieved 22 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. After 12 months, the results identified a small reduction in daily physical activity levels compared to before the study. 

Professor Khunti, who is also co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: “To date there has been little research into how self-management education impacts physical activity for people with multimorbidity. The self-management programme elicited a slight reduction in physical activity levels in people with multimorbidity  and future research should identify and target subgroups of those with multimorbidity.”

Multimorbidity is defined as the coexistence of two or more chronic conditions and affects 54% of individuals aged over 65, with cases expected to reach 68% by 2035. 

Fellow researcher, Professor Tom Yates, a Professor of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Health at the University of Leicester, said: “People with multimorbidity typically display low physical activity levels, which contributes to poor quality of life and the high risk of premature death. However, this study demonstrates that there is no magic bullet to promoting physical activity within these populations and that new, different approaches are needed in the future.”

To read the study, click here

Published on: 10 Nov 2021