NHS

Poor diabetes health in South Asians due to limited knowledge study reveals

Lifestyle disorders and cultural health beliefs could explain why South Asian people with diabetes in the UK have poor health outcomes, researchers suggest.
A new analysis was conducted by University of Manchester researchers, in collaboration with Southampton and Keele, who interviewed 67 South Asian people, measuring health outcomes, illness beliefs, mortality and demographics.
There is a higher incidence of diabetes and poorer health outcomes among British South Asians compared to the general UK population, but the role of social networks in self-management have not been widely researched.
The researchers observed that participants had conflicting views regarding the causes of their diabetes. There was limited knowledge regarding genetics and lifestyle factors in somen, while others believed that health was not uncontrollable.
They also noted that incorrect information about herbal remedies and certain foods were passed around family and social networks. However, these networks also proved valuable for emotional support relating to participants’ diabetes.
Other findings included that when women were in charge of the household, lifestyle aspects such as diet, cooking and shopping were more carefully managed.
The research team stress that these findings should be considered when treatment plans are developed to be culturally specific. Education guidelines, they believe, should be devised to account for cultural health beliefs in improving diabetes management.
Lead author Dr Neesha Patel, health psychologist at University of Manchester, said: “By getting this right, health services can go some way to addressing the inequality of diagnosis and the difficulties with self-management which South Asians with diabetes currently experience.”
The findings from this study were published in the journal BMC Family Practice.

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