An understanding of the level of public awareness of disease conditions is helpful for health educators to plan for future programmes. This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted for the very first time in the central region of Saudi Arabia; to evaluate the awareness level of diabetes mellitus among non-diabetic population. A total of 2007 Saudi citizens from all 11 provinces of Al-Qassim region were evaluated. The participants’ response rate was 91.23% and each participant was asked to answer a total of 21 questions from a pre-piloted questionnaire. Statistical analysis was done utilizing SPSS version 13.0. The mean age (±SD) and age range of the study participants were 26.6±10.2 and 15 to 68 yearsrespectively, and the gender ratio was 1.6 male: 1.0 female. Out of the participants, 77.4% aged between 15 and 33 years. The diabetes knowledge score among the study subjects was 67.4%, whereas general knowledge regarding the disease, risk factors, symptoms and complications were 71.1, 63.4, 80.8 and 47.7% respectively. Furthermore, relatives and friends, in addition to media, were the major sources of information (73.8 and 47.1% respectively). Logistic regression analysis revealed that, males were nearly twice more likely to have better knowledge of disease as compared with females (OR 0.569; 95% CI 0.471 to 0.687). About two thirds of the study subjects believed that, diabetes is a curable disease. Moreover, the study revealed the serious unawareness of diabetes associated secondary complications. Only 19.1% of participants were found to have knowledge about diabetes from the healthcare professionals. This indicates that, there is need of more efforts for educating general population about diabetes and its associated secondary complications.
Key words: Awareness, knowledge, diabetes mellitus, non-diabetic, young population, Al-Qassim region.
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