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.
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.
Want more news on Type 2 diabetes? Subscribe to our newsletter here.