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© 2017 Diabetes UK Background: Self-directed pedometer use increases physical activity levels in the general population; however, evidence of benefit for Type 2 diabetes is unclear and has not been systematically reviewed for accelerometers. Aim: To examine the impact of using physical activity monitoring devices (pedometers and accelerometers) on free-living physical activity and HbA1c levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review. Bibliographic databases included Medline, Embase, Web of Science, CINAHL, SportDiscus and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. We included controlled trials evaluating interventions based on the use of pedometers or accelerometers to promote physical activity in people with Type 2 diabetes. Primary outcomes were physical activity (min/week or steps) and HbA1c [mmol/mol (%)]. Secondary outcomes were weight, blood pressure and lipid profile. Results: Twelve trials (1458 participants) were identified, of which nine studied pedometers and three accelerometers. Random-effects meta-analysis showed an overall increase in physical activity (standardized mean difference 0.57, 95% CI 0.24, 0.91) in the intervention groups. Accelerometers and pedometers produced a similar effect size. No significant differences were observed in HbA1c, BMI, blood pressure or lipid profile. Conclusions: People with Type 2 diabetes, provided with an accelerometer or pedometer, substantially increased their free-living physical activity. There is no evidence that monitor use alone improves HbA1c or other clinical outcomes. Further trials are needed to compare the relative effects of activity monitors within differing complex interventions.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetic Medicine

Publication Date





612 - 620