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Can J Diet Pract Res. 2009 Spring;70(1):28-35.

Dietary education tools for South Asians with diabetes.

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Diabetes Education Program, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Cambridge, ON.



South Asian immigrants to Canada are at high risk for developing diabetes, and culturally relevant diet counselling tools are needed. We examined perceived needs and preferences for diet counselling resources based on the newly revised Canadian Diabetes Association meal planning guide.


Five focus groups of individuals from different regions of South Asia (n=53) discussed portion size estimating methods, cultural values and holidays, food group classifications, and common South Asian foods. A focus panel with dietitians (n=8) provided insight on current diabetes education methods and resources for teaching South Asian clients.


The dietitian panel members reported a need for resources targeted at differing client skill levels. They also noted preferences for individual counselling, and common barriers to education including finances, access, South Asian diets, and cultural views on health. Community focus groups reported larger portions but fewer daily meals in Canada. Ingredients and portions were not measured. Fasting was an important value, and sweets were a crucial component of holidays. Resources in South Asian languages, inclusion of pictures, and separate legumes, sweets, and snacks food groups were preferred.


Findings can be used when developing new counselling tools for the South Asian community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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