oa South African Family Practice - A cross-sectional survey on the lifestyle and health-seeking behaviour of Basotho patients with diabetes : original research

Volume 55, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



The objectives of the study were to determine the level of practice of a healthy lifestyle, to assess the health education provided to patients with diabetes and to determine the prevalence of obesity among Basotho patients with diabetes.

A cross-sectional study enrolled 192 patients between November 2004 and July 2005. Descriptive statistics on demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle data were computed. Weight, waist circumference and hip circumference measurements were taken to compute body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHpR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR).
Patients with diabetes attending three hospitals in Lesotho were recruited in the study.
These included obesity indices, the quality and quantity of physical exercises, the quality and quantity of provided health education and the frequency with which the subjects sought medical help.
The participants' mean age was 54.73 years. The prevalence of smoking (14.6%) was higher than that of drinking (9.4%). Only 20.8% of the participants participated in recommended physical exercise. Most participants (95%) consulted their physicians on a regular basis. The Health Education Quantity Index was very low: 49.9%. The prevalence of obesity measured by BMI, WHpR and WHtR was 67.7%, 69.8% and 95.3% respectively.
The practice of a healthy lifestyle was suboptimal, but help-seeking behaviour was satisfactory among participants. It is recommended that health education and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle are encouraged, that diabetes education is rendered by accredited educators or healthcare providers trained in communicating health messages, and that the fight against obesity is made a priority.

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