Research Article

Influence of imaginative teaching of diet on compliance and metabolic control in insulin dependent diabetes.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 17 December 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1858
  1. D K McCulloch,
  2. R D Mitchell,
  3. J Ambler,
  4. R B Tattersall


    Dietary non-compliance is an important cause of poor metabolic control in insulin dependent diabetes. Patients are often blamed, but teaching methods may be at fault, so a prospective study was set up to compare the effect of three different teaching methods. After a three month run in, 40 adults with longstanding poorly controlled insulin dependent diabetes (mean haemoglobin A1 13.0%) were allocated at random to three teaching methods: conventional diet sheet instruction (group 1); practical lunchtime demonstrations (group 2); videotape education (group 3). Knowledge was assessed by questionnaires, compliance by seven day food records, and glycaemic control by serial glycosylated haemoglobin measurements. During six months of follow up there was no improvement in knowledge, compliance, or HbA1 in group 1, but in groups 2 and 3 both knowledge and compliance improved. In group 2 HbA1 fell to 10.6 (SD 2.1)% and in group 3 to 9.6 (2.3)%. The change in HbA1 showed an appreciable correlation with dietary compliance as judged by day to day consistency in carbohydrate intake. These findings show that new and interesting educational methods can have a major influence on knowledge, compliance, and metabolic control in insulin dependent diabetes.