Studies highlighting the susceptibility of some ethnic groups to diabetes are common, but studies examining how best to treat diabetes sensitively and specifically are rare. A new study, carried out by scientists in Bosto, has shown that diabetic Asian-American immigrants who speak Chinese need more than just a translator to learn how to cope.
The study, one of the first of its nature by the Joslin Diabetes Centre, did not knock the importance of having bilingual staff and translators at doctors’ surgeries and hospitals. However, patients also need comprehensive education materials written in Chinese, and a medical staff who are well aware and sensitive to customs and cultural issues that may affect diabetes care.
The study is a part of the ongoing Joslin Centre Asian-American Diabetes Initiative, and surveyed Chinese-speaking immigrants at community health centres in several American cities. The study group were found to have less knowledge about how to manage their own condition, and on the whole were found to have poorer glucose control when compared to their counterparts who could speak English.
The study gave their target group bilingual diabetes education books, and found that the participants showed an increased understanding of their disease with trends towards improving their blood glucose control. The study is published in leading journal, Diabetes Care.

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