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Understanding physical activity intentions among French Canadians with type 2 diabetes: an extension of Ajzen's theory of planned behaviour

François Boudreau1 and Gaston Godin2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nursing, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, G9A 5H7, Canada

2 Canada Research Chair on Behaviour and Health, Faculty of Nursing, Laval University, Pavillon Ferdinand-Vandry, 3e étage, 1050 rue de la Médecine, Québec (Québec), G1V 0A6, Canada

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2009, 6:35  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-35

Published: 16 June 2009



Regular physical activity is considered a cornerstone for managing type 2 diabetes. However, in Canada, most individuals with type 2 diabetes do not meet national physical activity recommendations. When designing a theory-based intervention, one should first determine the key determinants of physical activity for this population. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information on this aspect among adults with type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this cross-sectional study is to fill this gap using an extended version of Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as reference.


A total of 501 individuals with type 2 diabetes residing in the Province of Quebec (Canada) completed the study. Questionnaires were sent and returned by mail.


Multiple hierarchical regression analyses indicated that TPB variables explained 60% of the variance in intention. The addition of other psychosocial variables in the model added 7% of the explained variance. The final model included perceived behavioral control (β = .38, p < .0001), moral norm (β = .29, p < .0001), and attitude (β = .14, p < .01).


The findings suggest that interventions aimed at individuals with type 2 diabetes should ensure that people have the necessary resources to overcome potential obstacles to behavioral performance. Interventions should also favor the development of feelings of personal responsibility to exercise and promote the advantages of exercising for individuals with type 2 diabetes.