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Management of type 2 diabetes in China: the Happy Life Club, a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial using health coaches
  1. Colette Browning1,2,3,
  2. Anna Chapman1,2,
  3. Hui Yang2,3,
  4. Shuo Liu4,
  5. Tuohong Zhang5,
  6. Joanne C Enticott1,2,6,
  7. Shane A Thomas2,3
  1. 1RDNS Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3International Institute for Primary Health Care Research, Shenzhen, China
  4. 4Beijing Office for Cancer Prevention and Control, Peking University Cancer Hospital and Institute, Beijing, China
  5. 5School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Centre, Beijing, China
  6. 6School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Anna Chapman; anna.chapman{at}


Objective To assess the effectiveness of a coach-led motivational interviewing (MI) intervention in improving glycaemic control, as well as clinical, psychosocial and self-care outcomes of individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) compared with usual care.

Design Pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT).

Setting Community Health Stations (CHSs) in Fengtai district, Beijing, China.

Participants Of the 41 randomised CHSs (21 intervention and 20 control), 21 intervention CHSs (372 participants) and 18 control CHSs (296 participants) started participation.

Intervention Intervention participants received telephone and face-to-face MI health coaching in addition to usual care from their CHS. Control participants received usual care only. Medical fees were waived for both groups.

Outcome measures Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Primary outcome measure was glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c). Secondary outcomes included a suite of anthropometric, blood pressure (BP), fasting blood, psychosocial and self-care measures.

Results At 12 months, no differential treatment effect was found for HbA1c (adjusted difference 0.02, 95% CI −0.40 to 0.44, p=0.929), with both treatment and control groups showing significant improvements. However, two secondary outcomes: psychological distress (adjusted difference −2.38, 95% CI −4.64 to −0.12, p=0.039) and systolic BP (adjusted difference −3.57, 95% CI −6.08 to −1.05, p=0.005) were robust outcomes consistent with significant differential treatment effects, as supported in sensitivity analyses. Interestingly, in addition to HbA1c, both groups displayed significant improvements in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol.

Conclusions In line with the current Chinese primary healthcare reform, this study is the first large-scale cluster RCT to be implemented within real-world CHSs in China, specifically addressing T2DM. Although a differential treatment effect was not observed for HbA1c, numerous outcomes (including HbA1c) improved in both groups, supporting the establishment of regular, free clinical health checks for people with T2DM in China.

Trial registration number ISRCTN01010526; Pre-results.


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