Aims: The efficacy of three education programmes for Type 2 diabetic patients was tested in a randomized trial. A didactic-oriented training programme (treatment A) was compared with a self-management-oriented programme delivered in group sessions (treatment B). The latter programme was compared with a more individualized approach (treatment C).
Methods: One hundred and eighty-one Type 2 diabetic patients (age 55.6 +/- 6.3 years, diabetes duration 6.6 +/- 6.2 years, HbA(1c) 7.8 +/- 1.6%, female 49.7%) took part. Efficacy was assessed 3 months (t1) after baseline (t0) and at a follow-up 15 months (t2) after baseline.
Results: The fall in HbA(1c) in treatment B at t1 was sustained at t2 (t0 8.1 +/- 1.8%, t1 7.3 +/- 1.7%, t2 7.4 +/- 1.9%). In treatment A, HbA(1c) was unchanged throughout (t0 7.6 +/- 1.5%, t1 7.5 +/- 1.3%, t2 7.7 +/- 1.7%; treatment A vs. treatment B; P < 0.05). With the more individualized approach of treatment C, there was a fall in HbA(1c) at t1, but this was not sustained at t2 (t0 7.8 +/- 1.6%, t1 7.1 +/- 1.3%, t2 7.6 +/- 1.6%; treatment B vs. treatment C; P = 0.73). There were also significant benefits in treatment B subjects compared with treatment A in further medical (body mass index and fasting blood glucose), psychological (control, irritability and hunger dependency of eating behaviour, and trait anxiety) and behavioural (exercise) variables. There were no significant benefits of the more individualized treatment C compared with group treatment B. No significant differences were found regarding triglyceride levels, high-density lipoprotein, diabetes-related knowledge, negative well-being, urine or blood glucose levels or foot care.
Conclusion: Self-management training had a significantly higher medium-term efficacy than didactic diabetes education. The group sessions were more effective than a more individualized approach.