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MedPage Today: Getting Competitive Boosted Physical Activity in Diabetes

Turning a lifestyle intervention for type 2 diabetes into a game significantly increased participants’ physical activity, especially if an element of competition was introduced, the randomized iDiabetes trial found. In this 1-year trial of an intervention that included a wrist device to track steps and game elements such as points and levels, participants randomized to small teams in which they competed for leaderboard status significantly increased their mean daily step count relative to a control group (606 more steps, 95% CI 201 to 1,011, P=0.003), noted Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, of the Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues of the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit. Participants randomized to a group that received social support from a family member or friend also significantly increased their mean daily step count relative to controls (503 more steps, 95% CI 103 to 903, P=0.01). However, those randomized to small teams that collaborated did not significantly increase their daily steps (adjusted difference 280 steps, 95% CI -115 to 674, P=0.16), the group reported online in JAMA Network Open. All groups also had significant reductions in body weight and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels from baseline, but there were no significant differences in these outcomes among any of the gamification interventions and the control group, which also had a wrist device to track steps but without any game elements. Read more at Med Page Today.