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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Diabetes-related health beliefs explored in low-income Latinos

  • Author(s): Kaiser, Lucia L.
  • Klenk, Marciel A.
  • Martin, Anna C.
  • Olivares, Anna
  • Joy, Amy B.
  • Quiñonez-Melgar, Hugo
  • et al.

We conducted focus group dis-cussions and a survey to explore diabetes-related health beliefs and to assess educational needs among low-income Latino adults, primarily of Mexican descent. We found that many low-income Latinos served through UC Cooperative Extension programs may be at high risk of developing diabetes. At the same time, many of those at risk lack awareness of risk factors for dia-betes, have never been screened and do not know where to go for advice. Although some were unsure of the true causal connection, 64% of the focus group participants had heard that susto (stress or strong emotion) might be related to onset of the illness. In addition to increas-ing awareness of the disease and reducing barriers to care, nutrition educators can help program partici-pants by identifying ways to alleviate the effects of stress and lower the risk of diabetes through a healthy lifestyle.

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