Challenges to healthy eating for people with diabetes in a low-income, minority neighborhood

  • Breland J
  • McAndrew L
  • Gross R
 et al. 
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE This study used qualitative interviews with black and Latino participants with diabetes to further understanding about types of foods eaten, food preparation, sources of foods and meals, communication with providers, and effects of race and ethnicity on eating in this population. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Researchers recruited black and Latino adults from East Harlem, New York, to participate in four English and Spanish focus groups. Discussions were transcribed, coded, and analyzed to uncover prevalent themes, which were interpreted with the Common Sense Model of Self-Regulation. RESULTS Thirty-seven adults with diabetes participated in four focus groups. The following four major themes emerged from the analyses: 1) The food environment limited participants' access to healthy foods; 2) understanding of diabetes and communication with clinicians about healthy eating was limited and abstract; 3) the short-term, negative consequences of healthy eating outweighed the benefits; and 4) stress, in large part from poverty and discrimination, was seen as a causal factor for both poor eating and diabetes. CONCLUSIONS Participants' responses indicated that using healthy eating to control diabetes does not provide immediate, tangible results. Thus, these participants followed their own common sense to guide their diabetes management and improve their health. Clinicians may be better able to help patients eat healthfully if they consider these factors during medical visits.

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