Rural Hispanic Populations at Risk in Developing Diabetes: Sociocultural and Familial Challenges in Promoting a Healthy Diet

Amy N. Heuman, Juliann C. Scholl, Kenton Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Type II diabetes affects Hispanic populations disproportionately and is the fifth leading cause of death for Hispanic people in the United States (Smith & Barnett, 2005). Risk of diabetes is of great concern throughout the United States and is clearly of epidemic proportions for regions such as the Southwest and Texas where the primary minority populations are Mexican American. We conducted four focus groups with a total of 49 Hispanic participants (23 adults and 26 adolescents) from rural West Texas communities to gain insights about participants' eating habits, knowledge of diabetes, and potential barriers to preventive care. From the data, we identified a three-tiered predisposition or vulnerability to diabetes-heredity; preferences for unhealthy, culturally based food; and temptations from U.S. mainstream fast food culture. These vulnerabilities added to the sociocultural concerns that participants identified-importance of parental and familial modeling; challenges to healthy eating based on a culturally based diet and mainstream fast food culture; and a lack of support from the larger sociocultural networks such as teachers, community leaders, and the media. From these data, we have a better understanding of familial and sociocultural factors that need to be addressed in the development of preventive public awareness and educational plans. We outline implications for practitioners and educators from an integrated cultural biomedical approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-274
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Communication
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

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