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Community Specific Nutrition Programs Best for Diabetes Prevention

By Daniel H. Rasolt

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008

(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- Different cultures, genders, minority groups, and social classes, naturally have different diets. Most nutritional education is based on general ideas believed to apply to all diets though, which might limit the effectiveness of the education for certain groups. A recent study has shown that diet-education tailored to a certain group or communities likely diet is most effective in preventing and controlling type 2 diabetes, a condition closely linked to diet.
The highest incidence of diagnosed diabetes tends to occur in minority groups from developing countries who are living in developed countries. Two examples are African-Americans and Latinos living in the United States. Most likely because of their generally lower socio-economic status, these two groups have a significantly higher diabetes rate than Caucasian Americans. Unhealthy diets for these minority groups are thought to be the primary cause of the higher diabetes rates.
Researchers analyzed the effectiveness of 11 past studies that aimed to educate minority groups about nutrition in a practical manner. In other words, these past studies addressed issues dealing with each groups typical diets, and the risks that those diets pose on their health.
Improved blood sugar control was observed in each studies subjects within three months, and was sustained for six months (the length of the studies). "These are important and encouraging results. They show that providing culturally tailored information can help people control their diabetes," says study author Dr. Kamila Hawthorne.
Unfortunately, after the education programs were finished, follow-ups done a year later showed that the previous blood sugar control improvements were no longer present. This suggests a need for more extensive and longer termed community specific education programs. "We now need to carry out longer term studies with larger groups, all measuring the same results, to discover which type of assistance is most useful and see how to keep the benefits running for longer," says Dr. Hawthorne.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Hawthorne, Kamila. Beal, Jennifer. Cochrane Library news release. July 2008.

Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.

Copyright © 2008 Defeat Diabetes Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

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