Diabetes Literacy

Seventh Framework Programme European Commission

Policy Brief on Effectiveness


    The Diabetes Literacy published its the second policy briefing. The focus is on the effectiveness of diabetes self-management education and the role of health literacy. The first policy briefing is on the status and cost of diabetes self-management education in Europe. These briefings are based on the results of the Diabetes Literacy project, and on discussions in policy dialogues at the 18th European Health Forum Gastein 2015 and the 23rd World Diabetes Congress 2015.



    Policy recommendations about the effectiveness of diabetes management programmes (DSME) include the result that the selected DSME programmes from various countries are effective and can be as effective for people with lower levels of health literacy as for people with higher levels. We also found evidence that cultural and status-related covariates influence effectiveness pointing to a need to tailor self-management programmes. Other messages focus on implementation fidelity and adaptation of programmes, and the potential for improving organizational effectiveness. An important recommendation about IT-based education is that effective digital materials can be designed to improve diabetes literacy and support self-management in people with all levels of health literacy without increasing health inequalities. 

    Main messages


    The Diabetes Literacy project shows that there is a window of opportunity in Europe to empower patients to take up successful diabetes self-management. Education in self-management is a crucial factor in this. We found evidence that diabetes education in the initial stages of diabetes is effective in changing self-management behaviour in a positive direction, for people with both low and high health literacy. We also found evidence that digital material for diabetes education can be designed to improve health literacy and support self-management in people with all levels of health literacy, without increasing health inequalities. Too many diabetes patients in Europe are still not educated in self-management. We call upon policymakers to invest in making diabetes self-management education programmes available and accessible to all diabetes patients in Europe. 

    Read or download the policy briefing "Effectiveness of diabetes self-anagement education and digital self-management support"