Exploring Knowledge Types as Determinants of Preventive Behaviour and Diabetes Risk among Older People

Muriela Pádua, João M. Santos, Hugo Horta


The association between education and risk of getting diabetes is established in the context of primary prevention. Yet, the determinants that can account for this association are under-analysed, particularly regarding older people living in cities. This article addresses this gap in an explorative study (n=356), focusing in older people in vulnerable urban areas of Lisbon, Portugal. The analysis focuses on data drawn from interviews and surveys analysed by regression methods. The data includes variables accounting for socio-demographic condition, risk perception, risks of having diabetes based on FINDRISC scores, and habits related to modifiable risk factors. The analysis suggests that: 1) the role of education (a formal knowledge type) is connected with healthy lifestyles, underlining the role of values and social rules; 2) risk perceptions and factual knowledge per se do not seem to be the most adequate to foment behavioural change in older people; and 3) a knowledge typology is proposed for a first-step conceptual framework applied to the older, lower educated, urban populations. The article concludes that education’s social dimension has a strong effect on risk of developing diabetes than knowledge per se. This highlights the need of considering other aspects of preventing disease beyond the more often used traditional strategies.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2016.v7n5p249

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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