Twenty-First Century Behavioral Medicine: A Context for Empowering Clinicians and Patients With Diabetes

Diabetes Care: February 2013

In the past decades, the sophistication of treatments for diabetes has increased dramatically, and evidence for effective interventions has proliferated. As a result, it is now possible to achieve excellent glucose control and reduce the risk of many of the complications associated with the disease. Despite these advances, however, many people with diabetes have less than optimal metabolic control and continue to suffer from preventable complications. The gap between optimal evidence-based medicine and actual practice can be great, dependent not only on the ability of the clinician to make changes in practice patterns but also on the central role of the patient in implementing optimal management plans in daily life. With recognition of the centrality of patients’ actions to achieve optimal outcomes must come awareness that those actions reflect much more than simple “self-control.” In addition to individual characteristics, the environment in which behaviors are enacted has great influence, from family eating patterns to the design of neighborhoods to workplace and national health policies. For patients and clinicians, these factors create the context or environment in which behaviors are enacted. Read more