Diabetes Risk Perception and Intention to Adopt Healthy Lifest yles Among Primary Care Patients

  1. Marie-France Hivert, MD1,2,
  2. Ana Sofia Warner, BA1,
  3. Peter Shrader, MS1,
  4. Richard W. Grant, MD, MPH1,2 and
  5. James B. Meigs, MD, MPH1,2
  1. 1General Medicine Division, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts;
  2. 2Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
  1. Corresponding author: James B. Meigs, jmeigs{at}partners.org.


OBJECTIVE To examine perceived risk of developing diabetes in primary care patients.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We recruited 150 nondiabetic primary care patients. We made standard clinical measurements, collected fasting blood samples, and used the validated Risk Perception Survey for Developing Diabetes questionnaire.

RESULTS Patients with high perceived risk were more likely than those with low perceived risk to have a family history of diabetes (68 vs. 18%; P < 0.0001) and to have metabolic syndrome (53 vs. 35%; P = 0.04). However, patients with high perceived risk were not more likely to have intentions to adopt healthier lifestyle in the coming year (high 26.0% vs. low 29.2%; P = 0.69).

CONCLUSIONS Primary care patients with higher perceived risk of diabetes were at higher actual risk but did not express greater intention to adopt healthier lifestyles. Aspects of health behavior theory other than perceived risk need to be explored to help target efforts in the primary prevention of diabetes.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    • Received April 15, 2009.
    • Accepted July 6, 2009.
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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 32 no. 10 1820-1822
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