Background and design: A combined community and high-risk intervention study of three years duration started in one district in Oslo after a baseline health survey in two multi-ethnic and low socio-economic status (SES) districts, using a pseudo-experimental design with an age-matched sample from the other district as controls. The intervention focused on promoting physical activity to reduce the burden of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods: A total of 6140 subjects were invited to participate (age group: 31-67). Data on health status and health-related behaviours, collected via standardized questionnaires, physical examinations and blood sample analyses, were available for 2950 persons (attendance rate 48%), whereas official statistics were available for the invited population.
Results: The prevalence of self-reported diabetes was 5.1% in men and 3.5% in women, but the total diabetes prevalence was 9% for men and 5.1% for women. One-third of the population were sedentary in their leisure time, men more than women (38% versus 29%). The prevalence of obesity did not differ between the genders (21% had BMI 30 kg/m(2)). The relatively high mean scores on most psychosocial variables related to physical activity, especially among women, indicate a high motivational readiness for increase in physical activity behaviour. The baseline data, for example on the prevalence of chronic diseases were similar in the two districts.
Conclusion: The prevalence of self-reported diabetes is remarkably higher than reported from other studies in Norway. The proportion of undiagnosed diabetes was higher than anticipated, and constituted 39% of all those categorized as diabetics.