Assessing the Effectiveness of Diabetes Self-management Interventions in Obese and Non-obese Patients

fat and slim men stock vectorObese patients with type 2 diabetes may receive similar benefits from diabetes self-management interventions as patients who are not obese, according to research. The findings, published in September 2012 online ahead of print in Health Education & Behavior, suggest that general self-management programs may be effective in improving self-care and disease management behaviors, regardless of a patient’s weight.

The study, conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, is titled, “Are self-management interventions suitable for all? Comparing obese versus nonobese type 2 diabetes patients.” Data from 64 people (59% males) with type 2 diabetes were included in the study. The final study sample included 27 obese patients and 37 non-obese patients. All participants were exposed to the self-management intervention which included 1 individual session and 4 group sessions.

The major aim of the intervention was to help patients manage their disease by helping them set goals and track their progress. Additionally, patients were supplied with information on how to cope with difficult situations and identify the barriers to their progress.

Patients’ cognitive ability (such as their proactive coping ability and their levels of self-control) was measured at the start of the study and after the intervention was completed. Additionally, researchers measured the extent to which participants adhered to lifestyle recommendations for people with diabetes.

At baseline, obese patients had lower scores on the self-care/adherence to recommendations measures, and lower proactive coping scores, than the patients who were not obese. However, the study results showed improvements in the cognitive skills, dietary behaviors, physical fitness levels, and self-care activities of patients in both groups. The level of improvement was equal in both obese and non-obese participants. The study did find that obese patients were more likely to drop out of the interventional program than non-obese patients.

The study authors argue that their findings demonstrate that self-management interventions may be equally effective in obese and non-obese patients with type 2 diabetes.

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