OBJECTIVE: To describe diet and exercise practices from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults with type 2 diabetes. METHODS: We analyzed data from 1,480 adults older than 17 years with a self-reported diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Fruit and vegetable consumption was obtained from a food frequency questionnaire; the percentages of total calories from fat and saturated fat were obtained from a 24-h food recall. Physical activity was based on self report during the month before the survey. RESULTS: Of individuals with type 2 diabetes, 31% reported no regular physical activity and another 38% reported less than recommended levels of physical activity. Sixty-two percent of respondents ate fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Almost two thirds of the respondents consumed >30% of their daily calories from fat and >10% of total calories from saturated fat. Mexican Americans and individuals over the age of 65 years ate a higher number of fruits and vegetables and a lower percentage of total calories from fat. Lower income and increasing age were associated with physical inactivity. Thirty-six percent of the sample were overweight and another 46% were obese. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of individuals with type 2 diabetes were overweight, did not engage in recommended levels of physical activity, and did not follow dietary guidelines for fat and fruit and vegetable consumption. Additional measures are needed to encourage regular physical activity and improve dietary habits in this population.
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