Knowledge regarding risk factors of diabetes mellitus in Zambezi region, Namibia

E C Libuku, H K Mitonga



 Background. No study has been conducted in the Zambezi region on the level of knowledge regarding risk factors for diabetes mellitus, yet the incidence of the disease and risky behaviours are rising. 

Objective. To assess the level of knowledge regarding the risk factors for diabetes mellitus among the general population of the Zambezi region in Namibia. 

Methods. This was an analytical cross-sectional study on the general population aged ≥18 years in four constituencies of the Zambezi region. Information on demographics, anthropometric and biochemical measurements and known risk factors for diabetes mellitus was captured. Data analysis was done using SPSS by calculating proportions, participants’ tests, analysis of variance and χ2 tests, with the p-value set at 0.05. 

Results. A total of 646 participants, from the general population of Zambezi’s 6 constituencies, were included in the study. The mean age of participants was 11 years (range 18 - 77). Of the 646 participants who completed the questionnaire, 76.3% (493) had poor knowledge and 23.7% (153) had good knowledge of the risk factors of diabetes. Association analysis showed that among the participants, 99 out of 334 (60% of 52%) females and 66 (40%) males had good knowledge about family history as a risk factor for diabetes (p>0.05). 

Conclusion. The study revealed poor knowledge regarding the risk factors for diabetes mellitus in the Zambezi region. Participants could not satisfactorily identify risk factors such as excessive weight, physical inactivity, poor dietary habits, alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, advanced age or consumption of oily food and fast food. 

Authors' affiliations

E C Libuku, Department of Academic Affairs, Unit for Contemporary Social Issues, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

H K Mitonga, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Science, University of Namibia, Oshakati Campus, Namibia

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Southern African Journal of Public Health (incorporating Strengthening Health Systems) 2020;4(3):76. DOI:10.7196/SHS.2020.v4i3.126

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-15
Date published: 2020-12-15

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