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Diabetes Educ. 2005 Jul-Aug;31(4):555-63.

Soul food light: culturally competent diabetes education.

Author information

The College of Nursing, University of South Carolina, Columbia (Dr Anderson-Loftin, Dr Tavakoli)
Fairfield Medical Associates, Winnsboro, South Carolina (Dr Barnett)
Department of Health and Environmental Control, Columbia, South Carolina (Ms Bunn)
Fairfield Diabetes Center and Fairfield Memorial Hospital, Winnsboro, South Carolina (Ms Sullivan)
The School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia (Dr Hussey)



The purpose of this study was to test effects of a culturally competent, dietary self-management intervention on physiological outcomes and dietary behaviors for African Americans with type 2 diabetes.


A longitudinal experimental study was conducted in rural South Carolina with a sample of 97 adult African Americans with type 2 diabetes who were randomly assigned to either usual care or the intervention. The intervention consisted of 4 weekly classes in low-fat dietary strategies, 5 monthly peer-professional group discussions, and weekly telephone follow-up. The culturally competent approach reflected the ethnic beliefs, values, customs, food preferences, language, learning methods, and health care practices of southern African Americans.


Body mass index and dietary fat behaviors were significantly lowered in the experimental group. At 6 months, weight decreased 1.8 kg (4 lb) for the experimental group and increased 1.9 kg (4.2 lb) for the control group, a net difference of 3.7 kg (8.2 lb). The experimental group reduced high-fat dietary habits to moderate while high-fat dietary habits of the control group remained essentially unchanged. A trend in reduction of A1C and lipids was observed.


Results suggest the effectiveness of a culturally competent dietary self-management intervention in improving health outcomes for southern African Americans, especially those at risk due to high-fat diets and body mass index >or= 35 kg/mm(2). Given the burgeoning problem of obesity in South Carolina and the nation, the time has come to focus on aggressive weight management. Diabetes educators are in pivotal positions to assume leadership in achieving this goal for vulnerable, rural populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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