Determinants of healthful eating and physical activity among adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes in Qatar: A qualitative study

Hanan AlBurno, Liesbeth Mercken, Hein de Vries, Dabia Al Mohannadi, Francine Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: In Qatar, as in the rest of the world, the sharp rise in the prevalence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a leading cause for concern, in terms associated with morbidity, mortality, and increasing health costs. Besides adhering to medication, the outcome of diabetes management is also dependent on patient adherence to the variable self-care behaviors including healthful eating (HE) and physical activity (PA). Yet, dietary intake and PA in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with T1D are known to fall short of recommended guidelines. The aim of this study was to develop an in-depth understanding of the behavioral determinants of HE and PA adherence among Arab AYAs within the age range of 17-24 years with T1D attending Hamad General Hospital.

METHODS: Semi-structured, face-to-face individual interviews were conducted with 20 participants. Interviews were based on an integrative health behavior change model, the I-Change model (ICM). All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using the framework method.

RESULTS: More participants reported non-adherence than adherence. Several motivational determinants of adherence to HE and PA were identified. The majority of participants were cognizant of their own behaviors towards HE and PA. Yet, some did not link low adherence to HE and PA with increased risks of health problems resulting from T1D. Facilitators to adherence were identified as being convinced of the advantages of HE and PA, having support and high self-efficacy, a high level of intention, and a good health care system.

CONCLUSION: The suboptimal adherence in AYAs to HE and PA needs more attention. Supportive actions are needed to encourage adherence to a healthy lifestyle to achieve benefits in terms of glycemic control and overall health outcomes, with a special focus on adolescents. Interventions are needed to foster motivation by addressing the relevant determinants in order to promote adherence to these two behaviors in AYAs with T1D.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0270984
Number of pages30
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/therapy
  • Exercise
  • Glycemic Control
  • Humans
  • Qatar/epidemiology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult


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