The aim of this study was to assess whether or not a theory-based behaviour change intervention delivered by trained and quality-assured lifestyle facilitators can achieve and maintain improvements in physical activity, dietary change, medication adherence and smoking cessation in people with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
An explanatory randomised controlled trial was conducted in 34 general practices in Eastern England (Anglo–Danish–Dutch Study of Intensive Treatment in People with Screen Detected Diabetes in Primary Care-Plus [ADDITION-Plus]). In all, 478 patients meeting eligibility criteria (age 40 to 69 years with recently diagnosed screen or clinically detected diabetes) were individually randomised to receive either intensive treatment (n = 239) or intensive treatment plus a theory-based behaviour change intervention led by a facilitator external to the general practice team (n = 239). Randomisation was central and independent using a partial minimisation procedure to balance stratifiers between treatment arms. Facilitators taught patients skills to facilitate change in and maintenance of key health behaviours, including goal setting, self-monitoring and building habits. Primary outcomes included physical activity energy expenditure (individually calibrated heart rate monitoring and movement sensing), change in objectively measured fruit and vegetable intake (plasma vitamin C), medication adherence (plasma drug levels) and smoking status (plasma cotinine levels) at 1 year. Measurements, data entry and laboratory analysis were conducted with staff unaware of participants’ study group allocation.
Of 475 participants still alive, 444 (93%; intervention group 95%, comparison group 92%) attended 1-year follow-up. There were no significant differences between groups in physical activity (difference: +1.50 kJ kg−1 day−1; 95% CI −1.74, 4.74), plasma vitamin C (difference: −3.84 μmol/l; 95% CI −8.07, 0.38), smoking (OR 1.37; 95% CI 0.77, 2.43) and plasma drug levels (difference in metformin levels: −119.5 μmol/l; 95% CI −335.0, 95.9). Cardiovascular risk factors and self-reported behaviour improved in both groups with no significant differences between groups.
For patients with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes receiving intensive treatment in UK primary care, a facilitator-led individually tailored behaviour change intervention did not improve objectively measured health behaviours or cardiovascular risk factors over 1 year.