The impact of health literacy interventions on glycemic control and self-management outcomes among type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review

Publication Name

Journal of Diabetes


Diabetes imposes an increasing health and economic burden on individuals living with it and their societies worldwide. Glycemic control is necessary to reduce morbidity and mortality of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Self-management is the primary tool for managing diabetes. Health literacy (HL) is the primary driver of self-management activities. The aim of this review is to evaluate the impact of HL interventions on glycemic control and self-management outcomes among T2DM. MEDLINE, CINAHL, PubMed, Cochrane, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched for eligible papers. Fifteen randomized controlled trials published in English between 1997 and 2021, used HL-driven intervention, and measured the level of glycohemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and self-management of T2DM patients were included in this review. The findings showed that HL-driven intervention had a positive impact on glycemic control and improved self-management behaviors. The level of glycemic control and self-management skills were improved through individual and telephone-based intervention respectively. Community worker-led interventions were effective in improvements in diabetes knowledge and self-care behaviors; however, nurse-led interventions were effective in glycemic control. Better glycemic control is achieved in hospital settings compared to outpatient settings. HL interventions yielded better improvement in self-management among people with longer diabetes duration (more than 7 years). It was possible to achieve a large reduction in HbA1c level after a 3-month intervention in hospital settings. HL-driven interventions are effective in glycemic and diabetes self-management outcomes.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Funding Sponsor

Haridus- ja Teadusministeerium



Link to publisher version (DOI)