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To fast or not to fast during the month of Ramadan? A comprehensive survey on religious beliefs and practices among Moroccan diabetic patients

Authors Al-Balhan E, Khabbache H, Laaziz A, Watfa A, Mhamdi A, Del Puente G, Bragazzi NL

Received 23 April 2018

Accepted for publication 14 August 2018

Published 16 October 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 633—640


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ming-Hui Zou

Eisa Al-Balhan,1,* Hicham Khabbache,2,* Abdelhadi Laaziz,2 Ali Watfa,3 Abdelkader Mhamdi,4 Giovanni Del Puente,5 Nicola Luigi Bragazzi5–8

1Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait; 2Faculty of Literature and Humanistic Studies, Sais, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, Morocco; 3Faculty of Education, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait; 4Department of Sociology, Sais, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, Morocco; 5DINOGMI, Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, Section of Psychiatry, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 6UNESCO Chair “Health Anthropology, Biosphere and Healing Systems”, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 7Gestalt Study Center (CSTG), Milano, Italy; 8Department of Health Sciences (DISSAL), Postgraduate School of Public Health, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Diabetes represents a major public health concern. According to the International Diabetes Federation, about 8%–9% of the population have diabetes, and rates are even higher among Muslim communities. Despite the risks, about half (43%) with type 1 diabetes and most (86%) of those with type 2 diabetes fast during Ramadan. However, there is a dearth of information concerning the determinants that drive diabetic people to fast. Therefore, the present study was designed to fill this gap in knowledge.
Materials and methods: A sample of 201 subjects volunteered to take part in this study. Mean age was 45.39±15.74 years. Most participants were female, married and had received at least primary education. They fasted for 22.98±8.53 days.
Results: For the overall questionnaire, the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was found to be excellent (α=0.910). The coefficient was good, yielding a value of 0.879, for the items concerning Ramadan fasting beliefs and practices, whereas the subscale for religious beliefs and practices obtained a score of 0.847. At the univariate analysis, patients with complicated diabetes (n=66, 32.8% of the sample) fasted for 20.77±9.21 days vs subjects with diabetes (n=135, 67.2% of the interviewees), who fasted for 24.05±7.99 days. The difference was statistically significant (P=0.014). The multivariate analysis indicated that religious beliefs and practices influenced the number of fasting days in a statistically significant way, after adjusting for confounders (beta coefficient =−0.199, t=−2.917, P=0.004). Another variable that impacted on the number of fasting days was the presence of complications (beta coefficient=−0.194, t=−2.775, P=0.006).
Conclusion: Our results warrant further studies in the field.

Keywords: diabetes, Ramadan fasting, religious beliefs and practices, survey

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