Physical Activity and Risk of Major Diabetes-Related Complications in Individuals With Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies
Background: Physical activity is a cornerstone in diabetes management; however, evidence synthesis on the association between physical activity and long-term diabetes-related complications is scarce.
Purpose: To summarize and evaluate findings on physical activity and diabetes-related complications, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources: We searched PubMed, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library for articles published up to 6 July 2021.
Study selection: We included prospective studies investigating the association between physical activity and incidence of and mortality from diabetes-related complications, i.e., cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular events, heart failure, major adverse cardiovascular events, and microvascular complications such as retinopathy and nephropathy, in individuals with diabetes.
Data extraction: Study characteristics and risk ratios with 95% CIs were extracted. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed, and the certainty of evidence and risk of bias were evaluated with use of the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) and Risk Of Bias In Non-randomised Studies - of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tools.
Data synthesis: Overall, 31 studies were included. There was moderate certainty of evidence that high versus low levels of physical activity were inversely associated with CVD incidence, CVD mortality (summary risk ratio 0.84 [95% CI 0.77, 0.92], n = 7, and 0.62 [0.55, 0.69], n = 11), and microvascular complications (0.76 [0.67, 0.86], n = 8). Dose-response meta-analyses showed that physical activity was associated with lower risk of diabetes-related complications even at lower levels. For other outcomes, similar associations were observed but certainty of evidence was low or very low.
Limitations: Limitations include residual confounding and misclassification of exposure.
Conclusions: Physical activity, even below recommended amounts, was associated with reduced incidence of diabetes-related complications.
Rietz, M., Lehr, A., Mino, E., Lang, A., Szczerba, E., Schiemann, T., Herder, C., Saatmann, N., Geidl, W., Barbaresko, J. and Neuenschwander, M.