Eating behavior among persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus in North Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study

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Background: Diet is central to the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Depending on the stage of the disease at which the recommended diet is initiated, optimal adherence can reduce HbA1c by about 1 to 2%. However, evidence on eating behavior is generally scarce including in Ethiopia. The present study aimed to assess the eating behavior of adults with T2DM in North Ethiopia. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among 421 adults with T2DM from September to November 2019. Socio-demographic variables were collected using structured questionnaires; an asset-based wealth index was used to determine socioeconomic status. Three dimensions of eating behavior were assessed using Likert-type items: food selection, meal planning and calorie recognition. Raw Likert scores in each dimension were transformed to percent scales to maximum (%SM). Participants’ behavior in each dimension was categorized into healthy and unhealthy taking 66.7% SM score as a cutoff. Overall eating behavior was determined by aggregating ranks scored in the three dimensions. Correlates of overall eating behavior were identified using Chi-square test and multinomial logistic regression with statistical significance set at P-value < 0.05. Result: Only 1% of the participants had overall healthy eating behavior. Yet, overall unhealthy eating was apparent in 54.4%. By dimensions, healthy eating behaviors in food selection, meal planning and calorie recognition were seen in 43.5, 7.4 and 2.9% participants, respectively. Factors that were positively associated with having healthy eating behavior in one dimension relative to unhealthy in all were: receiving nutrition education [AOR 1.73; CI 1.09, 2.74], female gender [AOR 1.78; CI 1.03, 3.08] & being in 26–44 age category [AOR 3.7; CI 1.56, 8.85]. But, being in the poor [AOR 0.42; CI 0.16, 1.32] or average [AOR 0.54; CI 0.19, 1.55] socioeconomic strata were negatively associated. However, only receiving nutrition education [AOR 3.65; CI 1.31, 10.18] was significantly associated with having healthy behavior in two eating dimensions over unhealthy in all. Conclusion: In North Ethiopia, the overall eating behavior of adults with T2DM is extremely poor. Diverse and integrated approaches including nutrition education during consultation should be implemented to address the gap.

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Gebreyesus, H. A., Abreha, G. F., Besherae, S. D., Abera, M. A., Weldegerima, A. H., Kidane, E. G., … Nigatu, T. G. (2021). Eating behavior among persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus in North Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study. BMC Endocrine Disorders, 21(1).

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