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Ann Fam Med. 2018 Jul;16(4):290-295. doi: 10.1370/afm.2259.

Influence of a New Diabetes Diagnosis on the Health Behaviors of the Patient's Partner.

Author information

1
Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California Julie.A.Schmittdiel@kp.org.
2
Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
3
Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California.
4
Global Health Section, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

When a person is given a diagnosis of diabetes, the changes in his or her health behaviors may influence the behaviors of his or her partner. The diabetes diagnosis may affect household members' perceptions of their own health risks, which could trigger behavioral change. The purpose of this study was to assess whether partners of persons with newly diagnosed diabetes changed their health behaviors compared with partners of persons without diabetes.

METHODS:

The study population consisted of Kaiser Permanente Northern California health plan members from 2007 to 2011. This cohort study assessed differences in change of 8 health behaviors. The study compared coresiding partners of persons with newly diagnosed diabetes before and after a diabetes diagnosis with a 5 to 1 matched sample of coresiding partners of persons without diabetes.

RESULTS:

A total of 180,910 couples were included in the analysis. After adjusting for baseline characteristics, partners of persons with newly diagnosed diabetes had significantly higher rates of participation in weight management-related health education classes (risk ratio [RR] = 1.50; 95% CI, 1.39-1.63); smoking cessation medication use (RR = 1.25; 95% CI, 1.05-1.50); glucose screening (RR = 1.07; 95% CI, 1.05-1.08); clinically meaningful weight loss (RR = 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02-1.11); lipid screening (RR = 1.05; 95% CI, 1.04-1.07); influenza vaccination (RR = 1.03; 95% CI, 1.02-1.04); and blood pressure screening (RR = 1.02; 95% CI, 1.02-1.03) compared with partners of persons without diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS:

There were small but significant differences in health-related behavioral changes among partners of persons with newly diagnosed diabetes compared with partners of persons without diabetes, even when no intervention occurred. This finding suggests a diabetes diagnosis within a family may be a teachable moment to improve health behaviors at the household level.

KEYWORDS:

diabetes mellitus; health education; type 2

PMID:
29987075
PMCID:
PMC6037527
[Available on 2019-01-01]
DOI:
10.1370/afm.2259
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