the objective of the present study was to evaluate, by means of a systematic literature review, the adherence and motivation presented by diabetic patients that participate in health intervention programs, which stimulate the adoption of a healthy life style. the ingestion of an adequate diet and the increase in physical activity, focusing in the disease perception, considering the diabetic patient knowledge, making evident the recommendations that should be followed to reach a better life quality, demonstrating that it is possible to live well even if you have a chronic disease such as diabetes. a literature research in the main public health databases (medline, lilacs, scielo, among others) was conducted from 1994 to 2006. a total of 37 studies focused in the interaction among the subject health and disease versus diabetes were selected. this study mentions some daily difficulties felt by the diabetic patient and his family to control the disease. these difficulties can directly affect the patient adhesion to the prescribed treatment. therefore, the behavioral and emotional factors presented by each patient must be considered when the health activities are being planned to reach total assistance to this population.