Determining Diabetes Risk and Health Literacy Levels in Individuals Aged 45 and Above: A Descriptive Correlational Study

Topuz İ., Gözüm S.

3. Uluslararası 4. Ulusal Halk Sağlığı Hemşireliği Kongresi, Ankara, Turkey, 11 - 13 January 2023, pp.1

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Ankara
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.1
  • Kütahya Health Sciences University Affiliated: Yes



Introduction and Purpose: The period between registering normal glucose metabolism and unmistakable diabetes mellitus (DM) is known as the “prediabetic period” and evolves into unmistakable Type 2 DM in 5%-10% of individuals (1,2). In 2020, one out of every three Americans is a prediabetic. More importantly, eight out of every ten adults are unaware that they are prediabetic (3). According to the data of the World Health Organization  (WHO), 1.5 million  people lost their lives to diabetes in 2019. Almost half of these deaths (48%) were individuals under the age of 70 (4). The aim of this study is to determine actual and perceived diabetes risk in individuals aged ≥45 and their health literacy levels.

Methods and Materials: The study is of descriptive, correlational design and was conducted with 82 university staff members of ages ≥45 years. The population of the study comprised 240 individuals, ages 45 and over, who were staff personnel at a state university as of 2020. Sample size, as calculated in this known population, was found to be 147. The sample group was made up of individuals volunteering to participate in the study over the period July 2020-May 2021. Since the data collection phase of the study coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, the targeted sample size could not be reached, and the research was carried out with 82 (55.7%) individuals. Along with Finnish Diabetes Risk Score (FINDRISC), was used to collect data of the question, “Please comment on your diabetes risk?” and the Health Literacy Scale for Turkey (HLST-32). This study was approved by Ethics committee of a State University Clinical Research Ethics Committee (Approval No: E.12759 dated 29/06/2020). Online informed consent was obtained from the participants who agreed to take part in the study.

Results: About of twenty-six percent for the participants exhibited a high/very high actual diabetes mellitus risk. A positive and significant correlation was found between the participants’ actual and perceived risk of diabetes mellitus (r=0.771, p<0.001). Seventy-two percent of the individuals displayed inadequate, problematic/limited levels of health literacy. There was no significant correlation between actual and perceived diabetes mellitus risk and health literacy scores.

Conclusion: Individuals are aware that they are at risk of developing diabetes mellitus. About three out of every four participants had a low health literacy level. The fact that a more educated group such as university personnel demonstrated low health literacy compared to the general public is an issue that must be addressed.

Keywords: Diabetes mellitus, actual risk, perceived risk, health literacy, university staff


1. Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Health, Turkey Public Health Institution. Turkish Diabetes Programme, 2015-2020. Ankara: Kuban Publication.

2. Tabák AG, Herder C, Rathmann W, et al. Prediabetes: A high-risk state for diabetes development. Lancet. 2012;379(9833):2279-90. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60283-9

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report. Atlanta, GA: US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2020.

4. World Health Organization (WHO-2021). Diabetes Key Facts. Available from: