Patients were involved in all stages of the study, including the initial conceptualisation and formative work leading to the development of SMS4BG (for more information, see the development paper28). Patient feedback informed the intervention modality, purpose, and structure, and patients reviewed intervention content before it was finalised. Patient feedback on the acceptability of SMS4BG through the pilot study28 led to improvements to the intervention including additional modules, the option for feedback graphs to be posted, additional tailoring variables, and a longer duration of intervention. Patient feedback also informed the design of this trial—specifically its duration, the inclusion criteria, and recruitment methods. Additionally, patients contributed to workshops of key stakeholders held to discuss interpretation, dissemination of the findings, and potential implementation. We have thanked all participants for their involvement and they will be given access to all published results when these are made publicly available.

Participants could choose to receive blood glucose monitoring reminders to which they could reply by sending in their result by text message. They could then view their results graphically over time on a password protected website. If they were identified as not having access to the internet at baseline they were mailed their graphs once a month. All messages were delivered in English although the Māori version included keywords in Te Reo Māori and the Pacific version had keywords in either Samoan or Tongan dependent on ethnicity. Examples of SMS4BG messages can be seen in the box. Participants were able to select the timing of messages and reminders, and identify the names of their support people and motivations for incorporation into the messages. The duration of the programme was also tailored to individual preferences. At three and six months, participants received a message asking if they would like to continue the programme for an additional three months, and had the opportunity to reselect their modules receiving up to a maximum nine months of messages. Participants could stop their messages by texting the word “STOP” or put messages on hold by texting “HOLIDAY.”


The reasons underpinning the considerable increase in incidence over the study period are unclear. This may reflect an actual change in the type 1 diabetes incidence in patients <15 yr. Alternatively, it may reflect an earlier age of onset without change in incidence over all ages, so that greater numbers of people are being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in adolescence rather than in young adulthood. This would be consistent with the ‘accelerator hypothesis’, which suggests that an increasing rate of obesity is a primary driver for an earlier age of diabetes onset [6]. Studies have shown an association between higher BMI and younger age at diagnosis [9], [10], [11], indicating greater adiposity in childhood may hasten the onset of diabetes mellitus. The ‘accelerator hypothesis’ predicts an early onset rather than increased risk [11], and a Swedish study examining type 1 diabetes incidence on a nation-wide cohort 0–34 yr showed a shift in age of onset towards younger ages, rather than an increase in incidence per se across the whole population [20]. Although we cannot rule out a similar phenomenon in Auckland, we did not observe an increase in BMI SDS among children recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, or an association between BMI SDS and age at diagnosis. In fact, we observed an actual increase in age at diagnosis which is inconsistent with the ‘accelerator hypothesis’. Thus, our data suggest a true increase in the incidence of type 1 diabetes in the Auckland region, and not changes driven by increasing adiposity.
Almost two-thirds of HPs responding had recommended a diabetes app to patients. Dieticians were more likely to recommend an app than others. Blood glucose and carbohydrate diaries were considered the most useful feature and HPs were most confident to recommend blood glucose diaries. HPs are the least confident recommending insulin dose calculation functions. Over one-third of HPs desire guidance with app recommendations.
The main treatment effect on the primary outcome is presented in table 2. The reduction in HbA1c from baseline to nine month follow-up was significantly greater in the intervention group than in the control group (mean −8.85 mmol/mol (standard deviation 14.84) v −3.96 mmol/mol (17.02), adjusted mean difference −4.23 (95% confidence interval −7.30 to −1.15), P=0.007). The adjusted mean difference on change in HbA1c at three and six months were −4.76 (−8.10 to −1.43), P=0.005) and −2.36 (−5.75 to 1.04), P=0.17), respectively (table 2).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has mandated November 14 as World Diabetes Day, an international event to raise awareness about diabetes. Close to 350 million people in the world have diabetes and WHO reports that a person dies from this disease every 6 seconds – that’s 5 million deaths. Currently 1 in 11 adults have diabetes worldwide and this is predicted to increase to 1 adult in 10 (652 million) by 2040. Sobering statistics indeed.
The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent these diabetes-related problems, no matter your age. Taking action now will help with your later years, so you can live a healthy life and see your grandchildren grow into beautiful and healthy men and women. And, it’s the perfect time to think about this because National Grandparents Day is on Sunday.

This cross-sectional observational study used two surveys (see Multimedia Appendices 1 and 2), one for people with diabetes attending a secondary care diabetes outpatient clinic and the second for HPs (who treat people with diabetes) attending a national diabetes conference. Both surveys were multi-choice format, collected, and managed using REDCap electronic data capture tools. REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, Web-based app designed to support data capture for research studies [24]. The survey questions were derived from criteria in the Mobile app rating scale [25] to address attitudes and practices of both the people with diabetes and HPs. The list of apps was compiled by searching Apple and Android App stores and included the first consecutive ten diabetes apps. We eliminated any apps not specific to diabetes by reviewing app store descriptions. We reviewed the main features from these apps to develop the list of app features. The patient survey asked responders to select any useful app features from a list. Responders could select more than one useful app feature. The HP survey listed app features and used a scale to assess usefulness of app features (from 1 [not at all useful] to 5 [extremely useful]) and their confidence in recommending apps (from 1 [not at all confident] to 5 [extremely confident]).


We are now operating as a Branch of Diabetes New Zealand; previously we had been in operation for more than 30 years, as an independent Incorporated Society. During that time, we have seen some significant changes in the field of diabetes. As times change, we strive to change with them, but our basic mission remains the same: to support the interests of people living with diabetes in the Rotorua region.
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