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Fam Med. 2004 Jun;36(6):423-30.

Family support and diet barriers among older Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes.

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VERDICT, South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, Texas 78229-4404, USA.



Diet plays an important role in the management of diabetes, and a suboptimal diet is a commonly identified problem. Family support may be important in overcoming barriers to good diet. We conducted this study to examine the role of the family in overcoming barriers to diet self-care among older Hispanic patients with diabetes.


We performed a cross-sectional survey of 138 older Hispanic adults seeking care at an outpatient university clinic. Patients reported on their perception of family functioning, family support for diet, and barriers to diet self-care.


Level of family functioning was related to family support for diet self-care, and family support for diet was related to perceived barriers to diet self-care. Scores for family support were higher for those who perceived their family as functional compared to those who perceived their family as mildly dysfunctional or dysfunctional. As family support for diet increased, perceived barriers to diet self-care decreased.


To fully understand difficulties encountered by older Hispanic adults with adherence to a diabetic diet, primary care physicians should explore the role of family support and family functioning. For those with poorly functioning families or low levels of family support, family-level interventions may need to be considered.

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