INTRODUCTION: This study was designed to document the level of awareness and risk for diabetes type II (type 2) among the members of two Seventh Day Adventist churches in Forest Grove, OR. One consisted primarily of a Spanish speaking population and the other with English speaking members.
BACKGROUND/HISTORY: Diabetes is a growing health care epidemic. Studies have shown that diabetic patients with poor diabetic health education literacy have a higher rate of complications of their disease. Given the expected growth in the number of people with diabetes type II the importance of understanding the true rate of health care literacy in the general population is of paramount importance.
METHODS: One hundred and three total participants from two Seventh Day Adventist churches in Forest Grove, OR participated in this study. The survey documented demographic information from the participants in regard to age, gender, ethnicity and education level. It also documented responses to questions about the signs and symptoms of diabetes, modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors and the long-term effects of non-treatment. Each member was given a questionnaire to assess his/her basic knowledge about diabetes type II derived from patient information available on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) web site. The survey also asked each participant to calculate his/her risk score depending on certain factors that would increase the likelihood of possibly developing diabetes type II in the future. The Risk Assessment Test and BMI (Body Mass Index) scale were adapted from the ADA as well. The survey and consent were available in both English and Spanish language versions. Sixty-nine members from the Spanish language church completed their questionnaire in Spanish. Thirty-four members of the English language church received questionnaires written in English. The data was entered into a Microsoft (MS) Excel Spread Sheet and analyzed using Statistix 8.1, a statistical software program using the Two-Sample T test and the Chi-Square method.
RESULTS: The Spanish speaking population was younger (95% CI, P=O.03), and significantly less educated (95% CI, P=O.03) but overall scored about the same on the Diabetes Awareness Questionnaire as the English speaking group. The mean score for the Spanish speaking population was 14.6 out of 19 possible points and the English speaking population had a mean score of 14.3 (95% CI, P=O.12), which is not significant.
CONCLUSION: The Spanish speakers scored almost the same as the English speakers on the Diabetes Awareness Survey, despite having significantly lower levels of education. This suggests that education level has little or no bearing on this particular population's awareness of diabetes type II. The test scores, although equivalent, were low in both groups (approximately 76% overall), which suggests a gap in both groups regarding the understanding of diabetes type II. The deficit cannot be attributed to age, gender, education level, language or ethnicity.
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