Dr. Nicholas Freudenberg and colleagues assessed multiracial college students’ knowledge of risk generally as well as their individual risk for Type 2 diabetes at three campuses of the City University of New York. The assessment included the validated Risk Perception Survey for Developing Diabetes. The data were analyzed to assess the relationship between the student’s individual risk perceptions and risk knowledge score. Most students recognized that obesity and inactivity were risk factors for diabetes. Overall, student’s knowledge of diabetes risk was extremely low. In the subset of high risk students, those who underestimated their personal risk had significantly lower knowledge scores than participants who realistically estimated their risk.
Knowledge of risk factors for diabetes may not necessarily be sufficient to alter risk perception and change behavior. Nevertheless, without knowledge it is inconceivable that one is likely to recognize their individual risk and take action to reduce the threat. There is a pressing need to heighten understanding of type 2 diabetes risk among young adults to decrease the future burden of this disease.
The study was published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.