Public knowledge of diabetes in Karen Ethnic rural residents: a community-based questionnaires study in the far north-west of Thailand
Thaworn Lorga,1 Kannapatch Srithong,1 Pratumpan Manokulanan,1 Thin Nyein Nyein Aung,2 Myo Nyein Aung1,3
1Boromrajonani College of Nursing Nakhon Lampang (BCNLP), Lampang, Thailand; 2University of Medicine, Mandalay, Myanmar; 3Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan
Background and purpose: The public knowledge of diabetes is important for prevention of disease. This study aimed to evaluate knowledge of diabetes, risk factors, and the common warning signs of diabetes and complications among community participants in a rural Karen ethnic community.
Methods: Participants were asked to answer a questionnaire regarding their knowledge of diabetes. Fasting blood glucose testing, blood pressure measurement, and body mass index (BMI) assessment were provided to the participants. The study was conducted at Thasongyang district, Tak province, Thailand.
Results: A total of 299 Karen rural residents were included in the study. The median age was 45 years and median fasting blood glucose was 88 mg/dL. The response rate to the questionnaires was 91.97%. Half of the participants knew diabetes is a noncommunicable disease needing lifelong treatment. Overall, one-third of the community participants could correctly answer the knowledge assessment questions regarding risk factors and common features of diabetes. Whereas the other two-thirds either gave a wrong answer or were “not sure”. Female participants had poorer diabetes knowledge than the males.
Conclusion: The public knowledge of diabetes, as represented by this sample of the Karen ethic community, is alarmingly low. There is significant gender difference in knowledge level. Culturally tailored and gender-sensitive diabetes health education interventions are urgently needed in this minority ethnic community.
Keywords: health education, gender differences, ethnic minority, diabetes, Karen
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