Low Physical Activity Among Chinese American Immigrants with Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

“…compared with the general population, people who have or are at risk for type 2 diabetes are significantly less likely to engage in regular physical activity.”

On this month’s cover, group practices tai chi during snowfall in Shenyang, China. ©Photo Reuters/Stringer.

We all know that physical activity is important for maintaining health—for everyone. It’s especially important to prevent or manage prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

AJN’s February research feature, “Physical Activity Among Chinese American Immigrants with Prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes,” takes a special look at the issue among Chinese American immigrants. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death among Asian Americans, so researchers wanted to investigate what this population’s knowledge of and barriers to physical activity might be.

Recruiting from a community health center in New York City, researchers conducted interviews with 100 foreign-born Chinese American adults having a diagnosis of prediabetes or type 2 diabete

According to the study authors:

“Chinese American immigrants with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes tend to be sedentary and are less likely to perform moderate or vigorous physical activity than the general population . . . .The findings also highlight some of the barriers to such activity and suggest a need for greater involvement by nurses.”

Barriers to exercise among those with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

In the population studied, reasons given for the low levels of exercise relative to the broader U.S. population included the following:

  • “insufficient knowledge regarding appropriate types and intensity levels of physical activity for diabetes prevention and management”
  • “health concerns regarding physical activity”
  • “a busy work schedule” and tiredness from work

The authors add that developing effective interventions and improving outcomes will depend on addressing these barriers.

You can read the study for free. CE credit is also available.


Editor-in-chief, AJN

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