Can peer educators influence healthy eating in people with diabetes? Results of a randomized controlled trial

Diabet Med. 2009 Oct;26(10):1048-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2009.02808.x.


Aims: To assess whether the Expert Patient Programme (EPP), adapted for people with Type 2 diabetes, can be used to promote healthy eating to improve glycaemic control.

Methods: Adults with Type 2 diabetes (n = 317) were randomized to receive either a diabetes-specific EPP (n = 162) or individual one-off appointments with a dietitian (control group) (n = 155). The diabetes-specific EPP followed the standard National Health Service programme although all participants in the group had diabetes only, rather than a mix of chronic conditions. Participants attended a group session for 2 h once per week for 6 weeks. In addition, a final seventh-week 2-h session was included that was specific to issues concerning diabetes. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 months.

Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the control and the intervention group in any of the clinical outcomes measured. There was no significant difference between the groups in any dietary outcome. There was a higher starch intake in the EPP group, although this did not reach statistical significance (effect size for starch adjusted for baseline values 8.8 g; 95% CI -1.3 to 18.9). There was some loss of participants between baseline measurement and randomization, although this did not appear to have had an important impact on baseline balance.

Conclusions: In this study of people with Type 2 diabetes, the EPP approach was not effective in changing measures of diabetes control or diet.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • England
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Peer Group
  • Self Care


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A