Group education for people with type 2 diabetes can help reduce their HbA1c levels, according to an Australian review.
The review also found that group-based education led to those with type 2 diabetes experiencing positive changes on lifestyle and social outcomes.
The research, conducted by Bond University, Queensland, involved analysis of data from 47 research papers from 1998 to 2015. These studies helped to evaluate the impact of group programmes for adults with type 2 diabetes, compared with those who received standard care.
HbA1c levels were measured throughout the study. In the group education group, HbA1c was lowered by 0.3% (3 mmol/mol) at six to 10 months in 30 studies, and by 0.3% (3 mmol/mol) per cent between 12 and 14 months in 27 of the studies.
The research team also found three studies where HbA1c lowered by 0.7% (8 mmol/mol) at the 18-month mark, while five of the studies illustrated a 0.9% (10 mmol/mol) drop after 18 months.
Lead researcher Dr Kate Odgers-Jewell said: “Group-based education for individuals with type 2 diabetes may be more cost-effective and efficient than individual education, due to the reduced time and funding required to educate numerous people in one sitting.
“The potential advantages of group-based education interventions over individual visits include time for the provision of more detailed information, decreased time demands on health workers, easily incorporating families and careers, and facilitating discussions and support from others facing the same challenges. Clearly, the use of group-based education warrants further investigation.”
Group education for type 2 diabetes led to sporadic improvements to an understanding of the condition, body weight, waist line, blood glucose levels and triglyceride levels, the review showed.
But the researchers added that further research is required to explore the effects of group interactions in these health improvements.
“Additionally, future research should explore the cost-effectiveness of group-based education programs, and the barriers and facilitators to implementing group-based education programs for the management of type 2 diabetes,” they concluded.
The study was published online in the journal Diabetes Medicine.

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