Owing to individual tailoring, participants in the intervention group received varying numbers of messages. Half the participants (92/183) received messages for three months, an additional 18% (33/183) chose to continue the messages for six months, and the remaining 32% (58/183) chose to continue the messages to the maximum nine months. Only three participants chose to stop their messages early. A total number of 76 523 messages were sent by the system to participants (median number of messages per participant 242 (interquartile range 122-511; range 14-2050)), and 16 251 messages of blood glucose results were sent into the system by participants receiving the reminders (68 (1-169; 0-917)).
Diabetes mellitus (DM) requires tight control of blood glucose to minimize complications and mortality [1,2]. However, many people with DM have suboptimal glycemic control [3,4]. Use of mobile phone apps in diabetes management has been shown to modestly improve glycemic control [5-10]. Despite this promise, health apps remain largely unregulated, and diabetes apps have not always had safety approval [11] or incorporated evidence-based guidelines [12,13].
Of mobile phone owners, those using diabetes apps were more likely to have T1DM (30/96) than T2DM (n=7/61); (P=.006). App users were younger with a mean age of 39.0 years (SD 11.1) compared to non-app users having a mean of 52.5 years (SD 15.6), (P<.001). There were no other significant differences in clinical variables between app and non-app users.
We thank the participants who took part in this study as well as the staff at the primary care practices and diabetes clinics across New Zealand who referred their patients to the study; the National Institute for Health Innovation’s IT team for their work on the text message delivery system, and all those involved in the study design and set up; Coral Skipper, Louise Elia, Erana Poulsen, and Hamish Johnstone (Māori Advisory Group members); Aumea Herman (Pacific adviser); Joanna Naylor and Michelle Garrett (content development advisers); Richard Edlin (health economist); Mahalah Ensor (assistance with recruitment); Hannah Bartley, Rachel Sullivan, Anne Duncan, and Gillian Lockhart (research assistants); Michelle Jenkins and John Faatui (data management support); and Karen Carter and Angela Wadham (project management support).
One of the most important aspects of diabetes management is to maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight not only increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, it also makes your diabetes harder to manage. Small changes in your diet such as reducing your portion sizes and swapping to low-fat dairy products can help you to achieve a healthy body weight and manage your diabetes.
Mobile phone ownership rates are increasing. Similar to trends seen in the United States and Canada, where mobile phone ownership is 72% and 67%, respectively [20], 70% of New Zealanders own a mobile phone, making diabetes apps potentially available to most people [21]. Limited research exists into the use of diabetes apps in New Zealand. However with increasing rates of both diabetes prevalence and mobile phone ownership, access to safe apps is essential for both HPs as potential app prescribers and patients as app users [21,22]. In Scotland, a survey of people with diabetes found high mobile phone ownership (67%) with over half reporting an interest in using apps for self-management of diabetes, but app usage in only 7% of responders [23]. The objectives of this study were (1) To establish whether people with diabetes use apps to assist with diabetes self-management and which features are useful or desirable, and (2) To establish whether HPs treating people with diabetes recommend diabetes apps, which features were thought to be useful, and which features were they confident to recommend.
In the U.S., there are nearly 26 million people living with diabetes, and more seniors have diabetes than any other age group. Currently, one in four Americans (10.9 million, or 26.9 percent) over the age of 60 is living with diabetes. With age comes an increased risk for specific complications that require diligence and care to properly mitigate them.

Increase your physical activity. Exercise is a very important tool to help lower your blood glucose. Prior to starting any exercise program, you will need to consult with your doctor. Make exercise routine with activities you enjoy. In addition to helping manage your blood glucose, exercise helps lower blood pressure and improves balance, flexibility and muscle strength. Exercise may even help to reduce anxiety and depression. Go out and play!


This study found that a tailored, theoretically based, SMS based, diabetes self management support programme led to modest improvements in glycaemic control. The effects of intervention were also seen in four of 21 secondary outcomes, including foot care behaviour and ratings of diabetes support. The programme showed a high level of acceptability with the overwhelming majority of participants finding the intervention useful and willing to recommend it to others.
Statistical analyses were performed by SAS version 9.4 (SAS Institute). All statistical tests were two sided at a 5% significance level. Analyses were performed on the principle of intention to treat, including all randomised participants who provided at least one valid measure on the primary outcome after randomisation. Demographics and baseline characteristics of all participants were first summarised by treatment group with descriptive statistics. No formal statistical tests were conducted at baseline, because any baseline imbalance observed between two groups could have occurred by chance with randomisation.
“There have been so many touching moments in the movement to Stop Diabetes since we launched last year,” commented Larry Hausner, CEO, American Diabetes Association. “People have shared courageous stories of facing their diabetes head on, while others have shared their heart-breaking experiences of losing a loved one because of diabetes. The blog is a new way to raise our collective voices and tell people why we need to Stop Diabetes once and for all.”  
The features most frequently used by current app users were blood glucose diaries (87%, 32/37), followed by carbohydrate/meal diaries (38%, 14/37) with 22% (8/37) reporting insulin dose calculation devices to be useful (Table 3). Table 3 demonstrates the features app users found useful in their current apps. App users reported the most desired feature for future use in an app was an insulin dose calculator (46%, 17/37; Table 4). Table 5 shows that non-app users reported insulin dose calculators to be the third most desired feature (54.6%, n=83/152). Blood glucose diaries were the most desired app feature amongst non-app users (64.4%, 98/152; Table 5). Non app users with T1DM were more likely to desire an insulin dose calculation device, than non-app users with T2DM, P=.01).
We all have our favorite holiday activities. It might be watching fireworks on the 4th of July, heading to the beach for Labor Day, as summer winds down, or finding the perfect pumpkin to carve for Halloween. For many of us, it’s the non-stop activities that seem to begin with the Macy’s Day Parade, early Thanksgiving morning, and continue through the last bowl game on New Year’s Day. But, no matter what holiday or activity tops your list, you can bet that it involves not only extreme amounts of food and drink but the kind designed to send blood sugar levels through the roof. (more…)

Eligible participants were randomised to either an intervention or control group in a 1:1 ratio. Randomisation was stratified by health district category (high urban or high rural/remote), diabetes type (1 or 2), and ethnicity (Māori and Pacific, or non-Māori/non-Pacific). The randomisation sequence was generated by computer programme using variable block sizes of two or four, and overseen by the study statistician. Following participant consent and completion of the baseline interview, the research assistant then randomised the participant to intervention or control, using the REDCap randomisation module. The REDCap randomisation module ensured that treatment allocation was concealed until the point of randomisation. Due to the nature of the intervention, participants were aware of their treatment allocation. Research assistants conducting the phone interviews were also aware of the treatment allocation. However, the objective primary outcome was measured by blinded assessors throughout the study period.

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).
We saw no significant interaction between the treatment group and any of the prespecified subgroups: type 1 versus type 2 diabetes (P=0.82), non-Māori/non-Pacific versus Māori/Pacific ethnicity (P=0.60), high urban versus high rural/remote region (P=0.38). Adjusted mean differences on change in HbA1c from baseline to nine months for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes were −5.75 mmol/mol (95% confidence interval −10.08 to −1.43, P=0.009) and −3.64 mmol/mol (−7.72 to 0.44, P=0.08), respectively. Adjusted mean differences for non-Māori/non-Pacific and Māori/Pacific people were −4.97 mmol/mol (−8.51 to −1.43, P=0.006) and −3.21 mmol/mol (−9.11 to 2.70, P=0.28), respectively. Adjusted mean differences for participants living in high urban and high rural/remote areas were −4.54 mmol/mol (−8.40 to −0.68, P=0.02) and −3.94 mmol/mol (−9.00 to 1.12, P=0.13), respectively (table 3).
Overall, all five potential app features were considered useful, with more than 60% of responders selecting that these features were useful, very useful, or extremely useful on the scale of scale 1 (not at all useful) to 5 (extremely useful). Equally, the mean usefulness score was higher than 3 for all 5 features. Blood glucose and carbohydrate intake diaries were rated as being the most useful app feature (Figure 1), with the highest mean score of 3.64 (SD 0.948) for usefulness (Table 7).
The message delivery was managed by our content management system, with messages sent and received through a gateway company to allow for participants to be registered with any mobile network. Sending and receiving messages was free for participants. The system maintained logs of all outgoing and incoming messages. Further details of the intervention can be seen in the published pilot study,28 and protocol.30
This study shows app usage is relatively low among people with diabetes, while 60.2% of HPs have recommended an app to patients. There is, however, interest amongst people with diabetes and HPs to use diabetes apps, with strong interest in an insulin dose calculator. Apps with this feature have the potential to improve diabetes control. However, the critical problem of app safety remains a barrier to the prescription and use of insulin dose calculators. Further work is needed to ensure apps are safe and provided in a regulated environment. An app assessment process would provide HPs with confidence in the apps they recommend and would ultimately ensure app quality and safety for app users. At present, however, app users and HPs must remain cautious with diabetes apps, especially those in the insulin dose calculator category.
The look of the Dario appealed straight away to me. Small and compact. Easy for me to carry with my phone which goes everywhere with me. Love the fantastic app on my phone. Clear, informative and easy to use. Love it! I can look back at previous readings to see any patterns. Sara and Assaf have been brilliant at helping out with any issues I have come across, which I thank them hugely for. The Dario Lounge is a great community for all users, who all share advice.
In Type 1 Diabetes, symptoms are often sudden and can be life-threatening; therefore it is usually diagnosed quite quickly. In Type 2 Diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all, while other signs can go unnoticed, being seen as part of ‘getting older’. Therefore, by the time symptoms are noticed, complications of diabetes may already be present.
New Zealand Europeans had a significantly higher incidence rate than Non-Europeans, which is consistent with other studies [21], [22]. There was a marked decrease in the proportion of Europeans in Auckland over the study period, so that the increase in type 1 diabetes incidence was not due to a shift in ethnic distribution. Furthermore, the incidence has been increasing in both Europeans and non-Europeans. A number of studies have shown that immigrant groups display higher rates of type 1 diabetes than in their countries of origin, particularly those that move into societies with a westernised lifestyle [23], [24]. For example, although type 1 diabetes in Polynesia is extremely rare, an abrupt increase in incidence occurs in Pacific Island peoples who migrate to New Zealand [25]. Our study provides evidence that the factors leading to an increase in incidence are operating across all ethnicities. Indeed, the incidence of type 1 diabetes has been remarkably similar over time for the indigenous Maori and the largely newly immigrant Pacific Island and Other ethnic groups.
Most people know that diabetes involves the inability to control glucose, or blood sugar, by not producing enough insulin or not managing it correctly. This leads to elevated levels of glucose in the body, which can result in very serious complications, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, hardening of the arteries, foot and leg amputation and blindness. (more…)

In the U.S., there are nearly 26 million people living with diabetes, and more seniors have diabetes than any other age group. Currently, one in four Americans (10.9 million, or 26.9 percent) over the age of 60 is living with diabetes. With age comes an increased risk for specific complications that require diligence and care to properly mitigate them.


Mobile phone ownership rates are increasing. Similar to trends seen in the United States and Canada, where mobile phone ownership is 72% and 67%, respectively [20], 70% of New Zealanders own a mobile phone, making diabetes apps potentially available to most people [21]. Limited research exists into the use of diabetes apps in New Zealand. However with increasing rates of both diabetes prevalence and mobile phone ownership, access to safe apps is essential for both HPs as potential app prescribers and patients as app users [21,22]. In Scotland, a survey of people with diabetes found high mobile phone ownership (67%) with over half reporting an interest in using apps for self-management of diabetes, but app usage in only 7% of responders [23]. The objectives of this study were (1) To establish whether people with diabetes use apps to assist with diabetes self-management and which features are useful or desirable, and (2) To establish whether HPs treating people with diabetes recommend diabetes apps, which features were thought to be useful, and which features were they confident to recommend.

Owing to time restrictions, longer term follow-up of participants was not feasible within the current study, although it is hoped that a two year follow-up of the present study’s participants is possible. The significant group difference seen at three months, dropping slightly at six months, but reaching significance again at nine months, could be an indication of sustained change. Another limitation of the study design was that secondary outcome assessors were not blinded to treatment allocation, which could have introduced bias in follow-up data collection of secondary variables.


SMS4BG was delivered in the English language (with the exception of some Māori, Samoan, and Tongan words). With high rates of diabetes in ethnic minority groups, delivery of this type of intervention in languages native to these groups could provide greater benefit. It is likely that some people were not referred to the study, or were unable to take part, due to the criteria that they must be able to read English. SMS health programmes have been translated into other languages such as Te Reo;44 thus, further research needs to look at whether such translations would be of benefit in SMS4BG.
The survey was piloted with the first 30 patients with an email addresses (chronological order of clinic visits). Responses were reviewed after response rate reached 50%. As 4 questions were unanswered by some participants, a “none of the above” option was added. The invitations were sent out to the remaining 540 participants. A further 31 participants were excluded (4 email address errors, 13 gestational diabetes, 10 deceased, 4 did not have diabetes) resulting in a final total of 539 participants. This survey remained open for 3 weeks, with reminders sent to non-responders at one week and two weeks.

Overall, all five potential app features were considered useful, with more than 60% of responders selecting that these features were useful, very useful, or extremely useful on the scale of scale 1 (not at all useful) to 5 (extremely useful). Equally, the mean usefulness score was higher than 3 for all 5 features. Blood glucose and carbohydrate intake diaries were rated as being the most useful app feature (Figure 1), with the highest mean score of 3.64 (SD 0.948) for usefulness (Table 7).
“It was fantastic for me to have all this information on the screen so I didn’t need to look it up. It means that I can see the latest results and any patterns that emerge on screen, without having to look them up, and yet I can interact with Ellen and the patient as I have a really good picture and good sound. At first, I was worried that the telehealth clinic would be too impersonal but it isn’t and the patients get quickly familiar with the setup and seeing and talking to me onscreen.”
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