Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a programme of group education for diabetics, which succeeded in reducing base glucaemia, body mass index and glycosylated haemoglobin, stimulating insulin-treated patients' self-monitoring of glucaemia, improving their understanding of the disease, and bringing into group education 75% of the target population.
Design: A controlled clinical trial with paired samples, lasting two years.
Setting: "Las Fuentes Norte" Health Centre, Zaragoza.
Patients: 243 type-2 diabetics, distributed at random, with 120 in the intervention group and 123 in the control group. All patients with no history of group education in the previous two years and with no restrictions on their attending talks and monitoring were included. No-one gave up in the first year; 9 did in the second year.
Intervention: Group health education workshop for two days in the first and second years.
Measurements and main results: In the intervention group, at the end of the study, success in the survey increased by 4.2; base glucaemia dropped by 17.1 mg/dl, glycate haemoglobin went down by 0.5, and self-analysis went up by 14.2%, all with significant differences (p < 0.005 and CI 95%). The body mass index went down by 0.3 without significant differences. Knowledge was lost between the first and second year, with worse metabolic control. In the control group there were no significant differences in any variable.
Conclusions: A stable programme of group education may be effective, especially because of the increase in knowledge of the disease, fostering excellent conditions for a change to a healthier life-style.