Patients with prediabetes diagnosis more likely to change health behaviors

Patients who are aware of their prediabetes are more likely to adopt lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of developing diabetes, according to a recent study.


Patients who are aware of their prediabetes are more likely to adopt lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of developing diabetes, according to a recent study.

Awareness of prediabetes was associated with increased odds of engagement in physical activity and weight management behaviors, according to the study, published online on June 16 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Researchers used data from 2 cycles (2007 to 2008 and 2009 to 2010) of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. After excluding those with self-reported diabetes, they screened participants for HbA1c values between 5.7% and 6.4% and divided the group based on self-reported prediabetes. Of those who met the defined criteria for prediabetes (n=2,694), 11.8% (n=288) were aware of their status, according to the study.

There were minor differences between the the aware and unaware groups in regard to 3 physical activity outcomes: any physical activity, at least moderate weekly physical activity, and 150 minutes per week of at least moderate physical activity. However, prediabetes-aware patients were significantly more likely to engage in any weight management (65.9% vs. 49.3%; P<0.001) and BMI-appropriate weight management (54.9% vs. 38.8%; P<0.001). Those aware of prediabetes were also more likely to report any physical activity plus any weight management (49.7% vs. 39.0%; P=0.01) and at least moderate activity plus BMI-appropriate weight management (37.2% vs. 27.5%; P=0.001).

Those aware of their prediabetes had higher odds of engagement in the combination of moderate physical activity plus BMI-appropriate weight management (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1 to 2) and the combination of 150 or more minutes per week of moderate activity and 7% weight loss in the past year (AOR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.1 to 5.6). Several covariates were examined in the analysis, including demographic factors, insurance status, and family history of diabetes.

Limitations of the study include the self-reported, cross-sectional nature of the data, which limits the ability to accurately assess actual changes in behavior over time. The researchers also noted that recall bias or social desirability bias among participants may affect the validity of their findings.

The authors stated that the impact of prediabetes awareness on the odds of adopting risk-reducing lifestyle factors highlights the special influence of physician input on patient behavior. “Increasing patients' awareness of prediabetes could result in increased performance of exercise and weight management behaviors and, most importantly, decreased risk of future diabetes,” the authors wrote.