Motivation as Important as Education in Type 2 Diabetes

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS -- Teaching type 2 diabetes patients about how to take care of themselves isn't enough; they need to be motivated to follow through, according to results of a survey of 3,867 patients.

Yet discussions with patients remain primarily educational rather than motivational. "There is a huge gap between knowledge and behavior. We, as educators, have to get away from simple knowledge, or we have to target our audiences better," Debbra D. Bazata, R.D., a certified diabetes educator at St. Luke's South Primary Care, Overland Park, Kan., said in an interview held at the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

In a poster that was coauthored by Dr. Andrew J. Green, who is with an endocrinology practice in Overland Park, the two also advised that "physicians and other health care professionals should negotiate with their patients in setting weight, exercise, and medication goals with specified timelines."

The survey asked a series of questions related to knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors pertaining to diabetes, exercise, and eating. Respondents had a mean age of 60.2 years; 58% were women, 85% were white, and 64% had at least some college education. Nearly two-thirds (62%) were obese, with a mean body mass index (kg/[m.sup.2]) of 30 or higher.

Most had been advised to change their lifestyle habits, with 56% receiving recommendations to change their diet and 63% being urged to exercise more. And they displayed healthy attitudes, with 87% agreeing that "obesity can aggravate or contribute to the onset of other chronic diseases," whereas 78% said that they tried to make healthy food choices. …