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Keywords:

  • diabetes mellitus;
  • family;
  • parent–child relationship;
  • prevention

Abstract

Aims  This study was conducted to investigate preventive behaviour of offspring at risk of Type 2 diabetes, particularly focusing on the relationship between patients’ behaviour of giving advice as parents.

Methods  This cross-sectional study was based on a self-reported questionnaire survey and was conducted at the diabetes clinic of one general hospital. Subjects were 164 pairs, comprising Type 2 diabetic patients ranging in age from 50 to 75 years and non-diabetic offspring ranging in age from 20 to 50 years.

Results  Approximately half of patients’ offspring were engaged in preventive behaviour; 51.2% to prevent weight gain and 50.6% to have a healthy diet. The proportion of offspring taking regular exercise was significantly less (40.2%) than those attempting weight control and eating a healthy diet (P = 0.0039, P = 0.0035, respectively). One hundred and six (64.6%) patients advised their offspring to change their lifestyle habits, such as with diet or exercise, for diabetes prevention. However, preventive behaviours in offspring, including preventing weight gain, having a healthy diet and taking regular exercise, were not facilitated by parental advice (P = 0.27, 0.92, 0.61, respectively). The offspring regarded medical professionals or mass media as reliable information sources, but not the family. However, they received information about diabetes most frequently from their family.

Conclusions  Although more offspring practised preventive behaviour than expected, they were less likely to exercise than to change their diet or attempt to control their weight. Parental advice did not facilitate offspring preventive behaviour. Further research is needed to discover how to mediate links between parental advice and offspring preventive behaviour.