Awareness of diabetes risks is associated with healthy lifestyle behavior in diabetes free American adults: evidence from a nationally representative sample

Prim Care Diabetes. 2012 Jul;6(2):87-94. doi: 10.1016/j.pcd.2011.12.005. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine whether diabetes free healthy non-Hispanic Whites (NHW), non-Hispanic Blacks (NHB), and Mexican-Americans (MA) who are told of their diabetes risk were more likely to adopt healthy lifestyle behavior defined as current weight control, physical activity and reduced fat/calories intake than those who were not told that they were at increased risk.

Methods: A nationally representative data (n=5073) from the 2007-2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys were used for this investigation. Odds ratio from multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine whether diabetes free NHW, NHB, and MA who are told of their increased diabetes risk were more likely than those who are not told of their diabetes risk to adopt healthy lifestyle behavior.

Results: Being told of increased diabetes risk was associated with increased adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors as indicated by odds ratio of 2.38 (95% CI=1.34-4.05) in NHW, 2.46 (95% CI=1.20-5.05) in NHB and 2.27 (95% CI=1.32-3.89) in MA who have no diabetes, after adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, hypertension, education, household income and total cholesterol.

Conclusions: Awareness of increased risk for diabetes is associated with implementing healthy lifestyle behaviors in diabetes free healthy American adults. Population-based programs designed to assess and communicate diabetes risk may be helpful in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. Programs designed along racial/ethnic line may be needed to reduce racial/ethnic differences in rates of type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Awareness*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / psychology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • United States / epidemiology