Does religious affiliation influence glycaemic control in primary care patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus?

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Background: To determine the relationships between religiosity, religions and glycaemic control of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D).

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted at an urban, university-based, teaching outpatient clinic. Religiosity was assessed with the Beliefs and Values Scale (BV), which contains 20 items each with a Likert scale of five possible responses. The range of scores is 0 to 80, with a higher score indicating stronger religious belief. Glycaemic control was taken as the mean value of the latest three fasting plasma glucose (FPG) levels and HbA1c readings documented in each patient's case records.

Results: A total of 212 patients participated (a response rate of 79%). Two-thirds were female, mean age was 62.7 (SD 10.8) years and mean duration of T2D was 11.7 (SD 6.7) years. The mean BV score was 57.4 (SD 10.97, CI 55.9, 59.0). Religiosity had a negative correlation with lower FPG (r = –0.15, p = 0.041) but no such correlation was found with HbA1c. Moslem religiosity had a significant negative correlation with HbA1c (r = –0.34, p = 0.007, n = 61) even after controlling for covariates. Christians and nonreligious group had significantly lower mean rank HbA1c than other religions (p = 0.042).

Conclusions: Those with higher religiosity amongst the Moslem population had significantly better glycaemic control. Patients who had church-going religions had better glycaemic control compared with those of other religions.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Senior Lecturer, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia 2: Professor, Department of Primary Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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