Evaluation of the health education process for European people with type 2 : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nutrition Science, Massey University

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Evaluation of the Health Education Process of European People with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Diabetes is a significant health problem in New Zealand. With a limited number of health professionals working in the area of diabetes it is essential that the educational and empowerment process is examined to ensure that the limited specialist resources are used effectively and efficiently with the best outcomes possible. For this to be achieved the holistic approach to education must be examined and evaluated. The aim of this research was to better understand the needs of European people between 45 - 65 years of age. The method used was a questionnaire to 50 female and 50 male subjects with type 2 diabetes randomly selected from patients seen by the researcher (a dietitian), within the Counties Manukau District Health Board geographical area. The results showed that most subjects were diagnosed between the age of 40 - 59 years, 64% had a relative with diabetes, 10% of females and 22% of males were overweight and 60% of females and 48% of males were obese. Group education was shown to be just as effective as individual therapy, with the preferred educators being specialist diabetes dietitians and nurses. Seventy two percent reported the best time for education was at diagnosis and 87% requested ongoing education. Once subjects knew their biochemical results 87% reduced their fat intake with 78% reducing saturated fat. The mean drop in HbAlc for females was 0.9minol/l and males 1.4 mmol/l, with both being statistically significant. Level of self reported education bore no relationship to level of HbAlc achieved. Sixty two percent of those who had three years or less of secondary education, 30 % of those with three to five years secondary education, 52% with a technical or trade certificate, and 59% of those with a degree had reached a target HbAlc at follow-up. After diagnosis 45% reduced their alcohol intake. The most popular form of exercise was walking (46%), followed by gardening (28%). Fifty percent chose an exercise of moderate intensity and overweight subjects were more likely to exercise daily. The preferred medium for education was written pamphlets (86%) follow by books (60%). The conclusions reached were that most had changed to a healthy lifestyle since being diagnosed but vegetable intake was still much less than the New Zealand Guideline (2003). From the results it is hypothesised that this diabetes population group, before diagnosis, had a higher intake of sweet drinks than the national average and this may have contributed to the development of the disease. Most were endeavouring to lose weight, improve biochemical indices and increase exercise. Both group and individual education were found to be equally effective as forums for education.
Diabetes, Study and teaching, Patient education