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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 581012, 15 pages
Research Article

Diabetes Self-Management Education: Miles to Go

1Division of Research, MacroCognition LLC, P.O. Box 533, Yellow Springs, OH 45387, USA
2Department of Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435, USA

Received 13 July 2012; Revised 19 November 2012; Accepted 29 December 2012

Academic Editor: Sabina DeGeest

Copyright © 2013 Helen Altman Klein et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This meta-analysis assessed how successfully Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) interventions help people with type 2 diabetes achieve and maintain healthy blood glucose levels. We included 52 DSME programs with 9,631 participants that reported post-intervention A1c levels in randomized controlled trials. The training conditions resulted in significant reductions in A1c levels compared to control conditions. However, the impact of intervention was modest shifting of only 7.23% more participants from diabetic to pre-diabetic or normal status, relative to the control condition. Most intervention participants did not achieve healthy A1c levels. Further, few DSME studies assessed long-term maintenance of A1c gains. Past trends suggest that gains are difficult to sustain over time. Our results suggested that interventions delivered by nurses were more successful than those delivered by non-nursing personnel. We suggest that DSME programs might do better by going beyond procedural interventions. Most DSME programs relied heavily on rules and procedures to guide decisions about diet, exercise, and weight loss. Future DSME may need to include cognitive self-monitoring, diagnosis, and planning skills to help patients detect anomalies, identify possible causes, generate corrective action, and avoid future barriers to maintaining healthy A1c levels. Finally, comprehensive descriptions of DSME programs would advance future efforts.