A study of the knowledge, attitudes and practice of lifestyle modifications among patients with type 2 Diabetes mellitus attending the Outpatient Department of the National District Hospital, Bloemfontein, Free State
Peter, Paul Ifeanyi
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Introduction: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM), no doubt, constitutes a major public health burden globally with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus often resulting in several short and longterm complications. It may also sometimes result in loss of lives. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that individuals with diabetes mellitus are regularly made aware of the need for optimal glucose control. Apart from the pharmacological management of Type 2 DM, a healthy lifestyle plays a prominent role in the optimal control of the blood glucose level and prevention of complications but often little is known about the practice of lifestyle modifications among the Type 2 DM patients. Objectives of the study: To determine the knowledge, attitude and practice of lifestyle modifications among patients with Type 2 DM attending the outpatient department (OPD) at the National District Hospital, Bloemfontein, Free State. Methods: This project was a descriptive study with a cross-sectional component. The study was conducted among patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus attending the outpatient department (OPD), National District Hospital, Bloemfontein, Free State. A self-administered structured questionnaire was used for the data collection. Information regarding the socio-demographic characteristics of the participants and their anthropometric measurements was obtained. The participants' knowledge, attitude and practice regarding physical exercise and healthy diet with regards to lifestyle modification practices among Type 2 diabetes were assessed. Results: A total of 149 correctly filled questionnaires were included in the data analysis. Majority of the participants, 104(69.8%) were females, while the mean age of the participants was 47.7 years. Majority of the participants (82.0%) had a varied level of formal education. Only 23.3% of the respondents were employed. Almost half (49.3%) of the respondents have been living with diabetes for more than ten years since diagnosis. Of the respondents, 64.4% were obese, and 23.8% were overweight. There was decent knowledge of lifestyle modification practices with regards to physical exercise and healthy dietary habits among the respondents. Respondents displayed a good attitude to physical exercise, but more than half had a poor attitude regarding the adjustment of their diet. Even though the majority of the respondents (94.0%) had a positive attitude to the need for weight control, about two-thirds of the respondents admitted they do not monitor their weight regularly. Only 63.3% of the respondents engage in physical exercise on a regular basis. The practice of controlled and planned diet was found to be poor among the respondents. The identified barriers to lifestyle modifications were respondents feeling too heavy to engage in physical exercise, bad weather and financial constraints. There was no statistically significant association between the gender of the respondents and their attitude to regular physical exercise or dietary modifications. There was also no significant association between the gender of the respondents and their practice of lifestyle modifications. There was no statistically significant association between the number of years the respondents have been living with diabetes mellitus and their attitude to lifestyle modification practices. There was also no association with their practice of regular exercise or dietary modifications. There was no significant association between the BMI of the respondents and their practice of regular physical or dietary modifications. Conclusion: In conclusion, the study revealed that despite the good knowledge of physical exercise and healthy dietary habits with regards to lifestyle modification among the Type 2 DM patient at the Outpatient Department of the National District Hospital, Bloemfontein, the uptake of these practices is still low. There is a need to address the poor attitude and poor practice of dietary modification and the sub-optimal engagement in physical exercise among the patients. It is also vital to regularly emphasise to the patient the importance of not only engaging in the lifestyle modification practices but also the need to do it correctly. Proper practices are essential for it to be efficient and bring about the desired purpose, which is the optimal control of blood glucose, by so doing, preventing potential complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus.