INTRODUCTION : Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common clinical conditions seen by family physicians in their daily practice.
They are constantly confronted with the burden of caring for poorly controlled and poorly adherent patients presenting with
preventable debilitating, disabling and mutilating complications. Lifestyle modifications in combination with medications have
been proven to contribute to the prevention and delay of complications.
AIMS : The study aimed to investigate the knowledge and practice of lifestyle modifications and also to determine challenges
faced by patients in their practice of lifestyle changes in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Middelburg subdistrict
STUDY DESIGN : An observational, descriptive and cross-sectional study was done. Data were collected from 150 patients with type
2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) using a self-administered questionnaire.
RESULTS : The results showed that DM was more prevalent among females and the age group 50– 59 years was mostly affected.
Nearly 50% of the respondents were obese and about 35% of them overweight. Lifestyle modification was understood as healthy
dietary habits. Only 35% of the respondents participated in exercises. Brisk walking (59%) was the preferred form of exercise
among these participants. A statistically significant finding was that 79.63% of participants who did not adhere to exercise
recommendations had poor glycaemic control. Only 40.48% of participants who adhered to exercise recommendations had
good glycaemic control. Obesity (47.52%) and overweight (32.67%) were associated with poor glycaemic control.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION : The majority of the participants thought that lifestyle modification was healthy eating; only
a third of them regularly exercised. The author recommends a multidisciplinary and multilevel approach involving different
stakeholders— among others, patients and community, health professionals/providers and government services—in assisting
diabetic patients with lifestyle modification.
This peer reviewed article is a summary of the MMed (Family
Medicine) dissertation submitted by the first author. The second
author was the supervisor.