Public Knowledge Of Diabetes

Those at high risk of diabetes know very little about the condition, according to research by the MORI Social Research Institute. The project, for Diabetes UK, shows around one in five people 'at risk' (19%) put themselves in that category.

Public Knowledge Of Diabetes

Those at high risk of diabetes know very little about the condition, according to research by the MORI Social Research Institute. The project, for Diabetes UK, shows around one in five people 'at risk' (19%) put themselves in that category.

Less than a third (29%) of those in high risk groups realise diabetes can lead to heart disease and just a quarter (25%) know it can lead to stroke. Groups at high risk from Type 2 diabetes include white people aged over 40 and people from black and minority ethnic groups aged over 25 who are overweight or who have a family history of diabetes.

Many people already diagnosed with diabetes are also unaware of the complications. Almost half (46%) don't appreciate the link with heart disease and less than half (45%) realise the condition can shorten life expectancy.

Technical details

The MORI Study was conducted a representative sample of the UK population, conducting a total of 2,158 interviews across 198 sampling points, including a "booster" sample of 100 interviews in Northern Ireland. Interviews were conducted face-to-face, in-home between 6-11 January 2005. The study was commissioned by Diabetes UK.

Key Results

Developing diabetes

30% of all people questioned met the "high risk" [note 1] criteria for diabetes. Only 19% of people in the "high risk" group considered themselves at "high risk" of developing diabetes.

Q Which, if any, of the following medical conditions would you say you are at a greater risk of developing than the average person?

Medical Condition % (all respondents)
Alzheimer's disease 7
Arthritis / Rheumatism 28
Asthma 12
Cancer 28
Diabetes 17
Epilepsy 1
Heart Disease 31
Mental Illness 5
Osteoporosis 10
Stroke(s) 19

Note 1 -- In the survey, respondents who met two or more of the following criteria were judged to be 'high risk' in terms of developing diabetes: Aged 40+, Of either African-Caribbean or Asian decent, Waist size of 35 inches or larger for women or 40 inches or larger for men, family history of diabetes -- i.e. any blood relative with the condition.

Developing complications

Diabetes can lead to shortened life expectancy, strokes, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage leading to amputation. It can also lead to problems in pregnancy and poorly controlled diabetes can sometimes cause death. Knowledge of these complications is still quite low.

Q Which, if any, of the following things do you think diabetes can lead to?

Complication Respondents who think diabetes can lead to ... People at "high risk" who think diabetes can lead to ... People with diabetes who think diabetes can lead to ... People of black or minority ethnic origin [note 2] who think diabetes can lead to ...
  % % % %
Amputations 45 54 64 21
Blindness 61 70 83 40
Brain Tumours 4 5 6 3
Deafness 9 9 10 8
Death 46 48 52 32
Hair loss 6 5 7 5
Heart disease 29 29 54 25
Kidney / renal failure 47 48 61 31
Problems in pregnancy 33 29 33 18
Stroke(s) 25 25 40 15
Shortened life expectancy 49 51 45 27

Note 2 -- People of black or minority ethnic origin are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

More insights about Public Sector

Society