Review | Volume 19: 26 | 27 Apr 2024

Diabetes knowledge among Malaysian adults: A scoping review and meta-analysis


Introduction: Optimal self-care promotes glycaemic control and prevents diabetes complications. Its performance is facilitated by an adequate level of diabetes knowledge. This review aimed to evaluate diabetes knowledge among Malaysians by assessing diabetes knowledge scores and their associated factors.
Methods: A comprehensive bibliographic search for Malaysian studies on diabetes knowledge was conducted in PubMed, Scopus and Google Scholar. Relevant literature was systematically selected and described; pertinent data were extracted; and data on diabetes knowledge levels and their associated factors were synthesised. The quality of the identified studies was assessed using a Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal tool.
Results: Thirty Malaysian cross-sectional studies that measured diabetes knowledge levels were retrieved. Nineteen of them used a named diabetes knowledge measurement tool, with 14 using the 14-item Michigan Diabetes Knowledge Test. A low knowledge level was prevalent among patients with diabetes mellitus (pooled mean knowledge score=6.92, proportion of patients with a low knowledge level=47.97%). The knowledge score was associated with some sociodemographic variables, health literacy, self-care and glycaemic control.
Conclusion: The association of diabetes knowledge with diabetes outcomes (e.g. self-care and glycaemic control) reflects the potential of the former as a target of intervention. Periodic measurement of diabetes knowledge in healthcare settings and among populations can help in assessing the effectiveness of diabetes educational interventions. Concerted efforts to improve diabetes knowledge among Malaysians have the potential to fill knowledge–practice gaps.