Research Articles

A study of the knowledge and practice of lifestyle modification in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in Middelburg sub-district of Mpumalanga

Andrew Ekene Umeh, Lushiku Nkombua
South African Family Practice | Vol 60, No 1 : January/February| a4668 | DOI: | ©
Submitted: 13 March 2017 | Published: 17 March 2018

About the author(s)

Andrew Ekene Umeh, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Lushiku Nkombua, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Introduction: Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common clinical conditions seen by family physicians in their daily practice. They are constantly confronted with the burden of caring for poorly controlled and poorly adherent patients presenting with preventable debilitating, disabling and mutilating complications. Lifestyle modifications in combination with medications have been proven to contribute to the prevention and delay of complications.

Aims: The study aimed to investigate the knowledge and practice of lifestyle modifications and also to determine challenges faced by patients in their practice of lifestyle changes in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Middelburg subdistrict of Mpumalanga.

Study design: An observational, descriptive and cross-sectional study was done. Data were collected from 150 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) using a self-administered questionnaire.

Results: The results showed that DM was more prevalent among females and the age group 50– 59 years was mostly affected. Nearly 50% of the respondents were obese and about 35% of them overweight. Lifestyle modification was understood as healthy dietary habits. Only 35% of the respondents participated in exercises. Brisk walking (59%) was the preferred form of exercise among these participants. A statistically significant finding was that 79.63% of participants who did not adhere to exercise recommendations had poor glycaemic control. Only 40.48% of participants who adhered to exercise recommendations had good glycaemic control. Obesity (47.52%) and overweight (32.67%) were associated with poor glycaemic control.

Conclusion and recommendation: The majority of the participants thought that lifestyle modification was healthy eating; only a third of them regularly exercised. The author recommends a multidisciplinary and multilevel approach involving different stakeholders— among others, patients and community, health professionals/providers and government services—in assisting diabetic patients with lifestyle modification.

(Full text of the research articles are available online at

S Afr Fam Pract 2018; DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2017.1364012


type 2 diabetes mellitus; lifestyle modification; knowledge, practice and control


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