Diabetes Education Linked to Better Diabetes Self-Care

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Adults who receive diabetes education follow more recommended preventive care practices, such as getting regular physical activity.

People with diabetes can participate in a diabetes education program called diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES). The program helps people with diabetes gain the knowledge, skills, and support needed for diabetes self-care.

What did this study examine?

This study examined three things:

  • The percentage of US adults 18 and older with diabetes who reported receiving diabetes education.
  • Whether people who received diabetes education—compared to people who did not—were more likely to follow 10 recommended self-care and clinical-care practices.
  • Whether any social, economic, or race/ethnicity differences were found between people who received diabetes education and people who did not.

What were the results?

  • Of adults with diabetes, only half (52%) reported receiving DSMES or other types of diabetes education.
  • People who received diabetes education were more likely to follow self-care practices (not smoking, checking blood sugar daily, checking for foot sores daily, and getting regular physical activity).
  • They were also more likely to follow clinical-care practices (getting a pneumonia shot, having an A1C test twice a year, and having an eye exam, flu shot, health care visit, and foot exam by a medical professional every year).
  • Among people who received diabetes education, nearly 25% followed 9 or more of the 10 self-care and clinical-care practices, compared to 10% among people who never received diabetes education.
  • Participation in diabetes education was lowest among Hispanic or Latino people and people who were uninsured, were living in a rural county, or had less than a high school education.

What’s important about this study?

This study shows that receiving diabetes education is an important part of diabetes care. It discusses the importance of:

  • Raising awareness of the benefits of diabetes education.
  • Making it easier for people to get DSMES to help increase participation.
  • Creating diabetes education at the appropriate reading level and customized to a person’s culture and language.
  • Using technology to deliver care at a distance, known as telemedicine. Telemedicine is an affordable way to deliver diabetes education and expand education across rural communities.
Page last reviewed: June 21, 2022