Type 2 diabetes and inheritance: What information do diabetes organizations provide on the Internet?

S. C.M. Van Esch, M. C. Cornel, F. J. Snoek

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: The worldwide epidemic of Type 2 diabetes necessitates preventive actions. Providing information to high-risk populations is key. In an international comparison of websites, we aimed to investigate the presence and quality of information provided by diabetes organizations on inheritance of Type 2 diabetes and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle targeted at those with a family history or belonging to a specific ethnic population. Methods: All websites included in the International Diabetes Federation member list in English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish and Japanese were included for assessment. Using qualitative content analysis, we reviewed 34 websites which provided health-related information on diabetes. Results: Most websites mention family history as a risk factor. However, an explanation of the interaction of lifestyle factors and increased genetic susceptibility is lacking. Ethnicity is mentioned in only half of the sites describing risk factors. Although most websites do provide information on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, they do not address specific high-risk groups. Only two websites encourage Type 2 diabetic patients to inform family members of the familial character of diabetes. Conclusions: Information on inheritance of Type 2 diabetes and prevention specifically targeted at high-risk groups on the Internet by diabetes organizations is often of poor quality or indeed is lacking. Efforts should be made to disseminate information on heredity of Type 2 diabetes and preventive options to the general public and high-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1233-1238
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetic medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2006


  • Ethnicity
  • Family history
  • Internet
  • Primary prevention
  • Type 2 diabetes

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