Treatment of Type2 Diabetes

Culturally-Focused Program May Help Hispanics with Type 2

Researchers have known that Hispanics have a higher rate of Type 2 diabetes when compared to non-Hispanics, on average. Also, this group currently lags behind in diabetes knowledge and care for a complex variety of socioeconomic reasons.

Researchers attempted to combat that disparity using a culturally targeted intervention program, according to a Healio report. The University of North Carolina Greensboro School of Nursing study involved 186 Hispanics with Type 2 diabetes and their family members. Study participants were assigned either to an intervention group that participated in an eight-week culturally targeted diabetes education program taught in Spanish or a control group which participated in a non-culturally sensitive program on health and diabetes self-management.

(It should be noted that the term “Hispanic” generally means that a person or a person’s immediate family speak Spanish. The term “Latino” refers to a person or a person’s family having originated from Central America or South America.)

Both groups of participants were then given a test designed to measure health factors such as blood sugar control, lifestyle changes, and activities designed to prevent long-term complications.

As expected, the culturally targeted group of participants scored 8.6 out of 10, while the control group had a lower score of 6.3.

Also, at a one-month post-study follow-up visit, the group that was culturally targeted achieved better A1C scores (7.7) than those in the control group (8.7). A1C scores generally measure average blood sugar levels over a two-month to three-month period, and a lower score is better than a higher one.

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While such initial improvements are impressive, there are several limitations to this study. First, the improvements in A1C scores were not sustained after a six-month follow-up. Also, by failing to have the two programs give the exact same health information, the researchers leave the research open to the complaint that they are making an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Still, this study provides some initial evidence that at least Spanish-speaking Hispanics involved in a culturally targeted program may experience improvements in blood sugar control, diabetes knowledge, and quality of life. We can hope that further, more conclusive, research will build on this initial effort.

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Kate Doughty is a third-year student at the University of Virginia, where she is studying English with an area concentration in literary prose. She can be reached at

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