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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Abstract: Adding a problem-solving intervention to continuous glucose monitoring

Combining continuous glucose monitoring with a 90-minute training session on problem-solving skills appears to help women with type 2 diabetes make lifestyle changes that improve their health, Assistant Professor Nancy Allen and collaborators from two other nursing schools found in a pilot study reported in the November 2011 Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.

According to the World Health Organization, between 90 and 95 percent of the estimated 220 million people with diabetes worldwide suffer from type 2 diabetes. Medication, diet, and physical activity are all important to managing and controlling diabetes symptoms. But research indicates that women with type 2 diabetes face more barriers than others to getting consistent exercise to treat their disease.

Allen and her colleagues’ 12-week study followed a small but diverse cohort of women who had suboptimal glucose control and were physically active fewer than two days each week. Equipped with continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and activity monitors, they were randomly assigned to either a control group (who received training for using the CGMs plus a 90-minute education session focused on reducing the risk of common complications of diabetes) or a test group (who got the same training along with a 90-minute session on problem-solving skills that help reduce obstacles to physical activity).

The researchers reported that the test group responded well to problem-solving counseling and showed some improvement in modifying diet, patterns of physical activity, and weight control. They concluded that the combination of CGM and problem solving is a feasible and acceptable intervention to help individuals with type 2 diabetes make important changes in lifestyle.