A Pilot Study to Assess the Effects of Tai Chi on Health Indicators in Type 1 Diabetes Patients

Xin Liu, Anthony W Russell, Enamul Kabir, Wendy J Brown

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Objective: Previous studies have shown that Tai Chi may have a role in the management of type 2 diabetes. However, to date, no studies have focused specifically on the effects of Tai Chi in people with type 1 diabetes. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the effects of a Tai Chi program on health indicators in adults with type 1 diabetes. Methods: This was a two-group quasi-randomised controlled trial with 13 participants (six men and seven women, aged 24 - 63 years) with type 1 diabetes. This trial was conducted from May to November 2016. The intervention group attended Tai Chi exercise training for 1 to 1.5 hours, twice a week for 12 weeks, and the control group continued with their usual medical care. Indicators of glycaemic control (HbA1c), depressive symptoms, physical measures (body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure and leg strength), and health-related quality of life (physical and mental components summary scores) were assessed at baseline and 12 weeks’ post-intervention. Results: There were significant or borderline significant between-group differences in changes over time in favour of the intervention group in depressive symptoms (p < 0.01), waist circumfereance (p = 0.059), mental components summary score (p = 0.051) and leg strength (p < 0.05) during the 12 weeks’ intervention. Further, compared with baseline, significant improvements were observed in depressive symptoms (p < 0.05), mental components summary score (p < 0.05) and leg strength (p < 0.01) in the intervention group, but not in the control group. In contrast, there was a significant increase in waist circumference in the control group (p < 0.05) but not in the intervention group.
Conclusion: In conclusion, there were improvements in mental health and leg strength in these adults with type 1 diabetes. Large studies are needed to further investigate the effects of Tai Chi in people with Type 1 diabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-350
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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