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Diabetes knowledge and glycemic control among Chinese people with type 2 diabetes


Dr Heather Wharrad, School of Nursing, University of Nottingham, Medical School, Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2HA, UK; Tel: 44-115-8230909; Fax: 44-115-9709955; E-mail:


Background:  Diabetes self-management education (DSME) is a key component of effective glycemic control and an important part of clinical diabetes management. The effects of DSME in China have not been investigated.

Objectives:  To identify factors that could enhance the quality of Chinese DSME programmes. The relationship between patients’ diabetes knowledge and their glycemic control was explored.

Methods:  A non-experimental cross-sectional study was undertaken in a large Shanghai hospital in China. Forty inpatients and 60 outpatients with type 2 diabetes mellitus were recruited. A Chinese version of the Diabetes Knowledge Scale was used to assess subjects’ diabetes knowledge and collect demographic data and HbA1c levels.

Results:  The mean diabetes knowledge scores among Chinese with type 2 diabetes was 22.1 ± 3.76 out of a possible 30 marks. There was no difference in overall diabetes knowledge in people with HbA1c <7%, indicating good control and those with HbA1c ≥7%, indicating suboptimal glycemic control (t = −0.811, P = 0.419). However, there were differences in scores between the two groups for some specific questions on sick day management and food substitution. Moreover, sociodemographic characteristics such as age and occupation were significantly correlated with diabetes knowledge; age was negatively correlated with diabetes knowledge and white-collar workers had the highest mean knowledge score and housewives the lowest.

Conclusion:  Sociodemographic characteristics need to be considered when developing diabetes self-management programmes for Chinese people with type 2 diabetes.