Introduction: A little less than half of American adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes. In 2016, West Virginia (WV) had the highest percentage (15.2%) of adults with diagnosed diabetes in the U.S.
Purpose: In partnership with the Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA), a cross-sectional study was preformed to assess knowledge, behaviors, and perceptions of diabetes risk.
Methods: Data was collected by trained HSTA students and teachers who lived in rural counties in WV. Information was assessed using validated surveys, and HbA1c was obtained by utilizing professional point-of-care (Bayer) kits.
Results: Mean age and Body Mass Index (BMI) was 36.11±17.86 years and 27.80±6.09 kg/m2, respectively. More than half of the participants had a family history of diabetes (58.8%) and hypertension (60.2%), and a majority had elevated BMI (65.9%). However, only 29.2% rated their future risk for diabetes as moderate to high. Eighty percent (80%) had an inadequate amount of weekly exercise, and 36% had lower quality of diet. Overall, dietary quality and diabetes knowledge was associated with a low to moderate diabetes risk score; risk score positively correlated with higher HbA1c (r=0.439, P<.001). Participants’ HbA1c, perceived future risk of diabetes and family history of diabetes emerged as significant predictors of diabetes risk in the regression model, controlling for health behavior and diabetes knowledge. Implications: HbA1c, perceived future risk of diabetes and family history of diabetes may be the best predictors of developing diabetes in the future and, therefore, are important to assess during community screening. Perception of diabetes risk is lower than actual diabetes risk in WV.
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Misra R, Farjo S, McGinnis R, Elavsky MA, Kuhn S, Morton-McSwain C. Diabetes Knowledge, Behaviors, and Perceptions of Risk in Rural West Virginia Counties. J Appalach Health 2021;3(3):51–67. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13023/jah.0303.05