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To evaluate self-assessed knowledge about diabetes mellitus, to assess determinants of health knowledge and to evaluate consequences of health knowledge on appraisal about consequences of the disease.
Population-based computer-assisted web interview survey, supplemented with a paper-and-pencil survey via post.
Representative sample of the general Austrian population aged 15 years and older.
Men (n 1935) and women (n 2065) with and without diabetes mellitus.
Some 20·5 % of men and 17·7 % of women with diabetes, and 46·2 % of men and 36·7 % of women without diabetes, rated their knowledge about diabetes mellitus to be ‘very bad’ or ‘rather bad’. Individuals with diabetes and individuals with a family member with diabetes rated their information level more often as ‘very good’ or ‘rather good’, with adjusted OR (95 % CI) of 1·7 (1·1, 2·8) and 2·1 (1·6, 2·7), respectively, in men and 2·7 (1·5, 4·8) and 2·7 (2·1, 3·5), respectively, in women. Additional significant influencing factors on diabetes knowledge were age and educational level in both sexes, and city size in men. Independent of personal diabetes status, diabetes knowledge was associated with a lower perception of restrictions on daily life of diabetes patients and with a lower probability of underestimating health consequences of diabetes.
Health knowledge is associated with fewer misconceptions and less underestimation of health consequences in individuals both with and without diabetes mellitus. Thus health information about diabetes is important on the individual level towards disease management as well as on the public health level towards disease prevention.
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