Long-term outcomes no different after one-day diabetes education program

One-day education programs for people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes produce the same outcomes after three years as the usual self-care regimen, according to a study published in BMJ.

More than 700 patients from 207 general medical practices throughout the United Kingdom participated in the study. Patients were assigned to join either an intervention group or a control group.

The intervention group attended a six-hour structured education program conducted by two trained educators. The curriculum focused on self management including food choices, physical activity, and cardiovascular risk factors. Participants assessed their own personal risk factors and selected achievable goals to work on.

At the end of the three-year study, levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) had decreased in both groups. However, there was no significant difference between the two groups in HbA1c levels.

There was no difference in other biomedical outcomes, lifestyle outcomes, oral antidiabetic and/or insulin use, depression scores and quality of life assessments either.

Researchers did find a significant difference in the number of people in the intervention group who chose to quit smoking at the 12-month mark. However, they did not maintain this difference at the three-year mark.

Meanwhile, participants in the intervention group did sustain some changes to illness beliefs after three years. Patients had a greater understanding of their disease and its seriousness and their ability to affect the course of their illness.

The researchers concluded that an ongoing model of education rather than a one-time class could help sustain benefits to the patient. They recommend further research to establish the benefits of an ongoing program and to understand the effects of intervention over time.

The team consisted of researchers from University of Leicester and University of Sheffield in the UK and University of Tasmania in Australia.

About 366 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). It estimates that 552 million people, or one in ten adults, will have diabetes by 2030 if current trends continue.

IDF also estimates that as many as 183 million people are unaware that they have diabetes.

Sources: BMJ, International Diabetes Federation

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