Study addresses cultural challenges in overcoming diabetes

Colton Shone
March 28, 2017 06:27 PM

Diabetes is a huge problem in New Mexico. Many people don't even know they have the disease or what it really means. For many in our state, there are cultural barriers that may prevent people from giving themselves the best care they can. University of New Mexico researchers are trying to change that.


According to the state health department, more than 12 percent of Hispanics in our state have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

"People struggle to understand their diabetes, even people that have had diabetes for years often can't tell you a lot about their disease or they can't tell you really what they're supposed to do especially in relation to eating," said Janet Page-Reeves.

Page-Reeves is the principal investigator for the UNM study that will look into diabetes self-management techniques by looking into two different models that are already used by low-income Hispanic families in Albuquerque and how cultural competence for this population can create better self-care.

"If tortillas -  which have significantly cultural value, and are likely to be things that in a cultural context you're expected to eat or what will be served to you -  you have to have a different plan. You can't just say 'oh, I can't eat tortillas,'" Page-Reeves said.

Researchers were awarded $2.3 million for this four-year study. Co-principal investigator Lidia Regino will focus on the community engagement aspect, helping recruit people for the study.

"It can be challenging, people in this group, in this population, are not used to working on research. So you have to start from zero," said Regino. "You have to start by teaching them what research means, what their input means in the project."

The researcher says giving the participants more of a stake in the research could give them a bigger pay off by actually being involved with solving a problem that affects their community. 


Colton Shone

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved




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