Author(s): Carolan M, Steele C, Margetts H
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: to explore knowledge about gestational diabetes (GDM) among a multi-ethnic sample of women who were receiving antenatal care in Melbourne, Australia. DESIGN: cross-sectional comparative survey. SETTING: diabetes clinic located in a public hospital in Melbourne's Western suburbs. PARTICIPANTS: 143 pregnant women with GDM from Vietnamese, Indian, Filipino and Caucasian backgrounds. FINDINGS: 200 questionnaires were distributed and 143 were returned (response rate 71.5\%). There were statistically significant differences between ethnic groups in terms of educational level (p=0.001) and fluency in English (p=0.001). Educational levels, measured in completed years of schooling, were lowest among Vietnamese [mean 8.5 years, standard deviation (SD) 1.0], Filipino (mean 8.9 years, SD 1.5) and Caucasian [mean 10.2 years, SD 0.9] women. Indian women had a higher mean level of education (11.6 years, SD 0.9). Fluency in English was reported by 100\% of Caucasian, Indian and Filipino women, but 53.3\% of Vietnamese women required interpreter services. The women's answers varied with ethnicity and educational status. Vietnamese and Filipino women displayed the least knowledge about GDM and food values. Caucasian women also scored poorly on general knowledge about GDM. Indian women scored highest across all areas of interest. KEY CONCLUSIONS: Vietnamese women had the poorest English skills and lowest educational levels, and were identified as the group at greatest risk of misunderstanding GDM. English language proficiency alone, however, was not associated with better comprehension of GDM in this study. Higher educational level was the only factor linked to increased comprehension. It is, therefore, important that new educational strategies are developed to address lower health literacy as well as cultural factors when caring for multi-ethnic populations with GDM. This approach may also serve to address lower levels of comprehension among Caucasian populations. Copyright © 2009. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
This article was published in Midwifery
and referenced in Journal of Womens Health Care