Intensive education for lifestyle change in diabetes

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7424.1120 (Published 13 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1120
  1. Charles Fox, consultant physician,
  2. Anne Kilvert, consultant physician
  1. Northampton General Hospital, Diabetes Centre, Northampton NN1 5BD

    Ongoing input is required to effect and maintain change in behaviour

    In the past 10 years the diabetes control and complications trial and the UK prospective diabetes study (UKPDS) have shown that tight control of diabetes reduces the risk of complications in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.1 2 As a result of these studies we have set our patients demanding targets, which often require important changes in their lifestyle. But we have failed to provide the education and self management training needed to help them meet these targets. In this context, intensive modifications to lifestyle means structured education designed to facilitate change in behaviour. Such education programmes are used in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and in prevention of diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance.

    Traditional education for diabetes treats the patient as a receptacle for knowledge or a pot to be filled with information by doctors, nurses, and dieticians. To achieve change in behaviour education must encourage self motivation and self determination,3 and a professional who simply tells …

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