Concerns over cultural barriers in type 2 diabetes education for South Asia community

Jack Woodfield
Thu, 05 Apr 2018
Concerns over cultural barriers in type 2 diabetes education for South Asia community
Type 2 diabetes education programmes in the UK need to become more cultural adaptable to ensure South Asian people get access to the knowledge needed to manage the condition, a study has suggested.

Our Low Carb Program has been tailored for people of South Asian origin and includes the support of Dr Kesar Singh Sadhra. The program has seen more than 270,000 people enrol to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes and to reduce dependency on diabetes medication.

Whilst the Low Carb Program has been designed to be inclusive, researchers from Anglia Ruskin University say South Asians feel ignored when it comes to certain education courses and programmes.

With high prevalence of type 2 diabetes in South Asian communities, the study set about examining why participation in health education programmes was poor.

People with type 2 diabetes were interviewed and the findings suggested that the reasons behind a lack of awareness of type 2 diabetes and low uptake for education programmes varied between demographic groups.

According to the findings, people said information was too general and did not factor in cultural or dietary differences, while people who were classed as illiterate said language was a major challenge.

All groups said they struggled to follows diets because of limited nutritional knowledge and also said they were not motivated to be more physically active.

Older women cited the challenge of preparing different meals for people with type 2 diabetes during parties and family occasions, while those with the condition said they do not want to be a burden. Also, the findings suggested barriers to living healthier lives included social and cultural pressures.

Professor Shahina Pardhan, who is the Director of the Vision and Eye Research Unit (VERU) based at the university, said: "South Asians are particularly at risk of developing diabetes, a condition that can lead to serious complications which may even lead to blindness. Self-help is vital as proper management of diabetes can reduce complications and the risk of blindness.

"Our study found many people in the South Asian community simply weren't aware of these self-help or improved awareness programmes, which is a major concern. Some feel cut off or excluded due to a lack of ethnically-tailored programmes or language difficulties. There were also issues with diet, partly due to a strong preference for South Asian food and a lack of nutritional awareness."

The study was published in the Ethnicity and Health journal.
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