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Understanding diabetes risk among Latinos in eastern North Carolina: perceptions regarding nutrition and physical Understanding diabetes risk among Latinos in eastern North Carolina: perceptions regarding nutrition and physical activity Shahna Arps, East Carolina University; Ricardo Contreras, East Carolina University; Luci Fernandez, East Carolina University Photos: AMEXCAN’s “Festival de la Raza”, 2007, http: //www. amexcannc. org

Diabetes currently represents an urgent health issue among Latinos • According to national statistics, Diabetes currently represents an urgent health issue among Latinos • According to national statistics, 10. 4% of Hispanics 20 years or older have been diagnosed with diabetes • Rates among Mexican Americans are nearly 2 times as high as among non-Hispanic White adults • Hispanics are 1. 6 times more likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanic Whites Source: CDC. 2007. National diabetes fact sheet: general information and national estimates on diabetes in the United States.

Latinos suffer disproportionately from health problems, because they lack access to education, information, & Latinos suffer disproportionately from health problems, because they lack access to education, information, & health services • Only 1 in 3 Hispanics in the US may know he/she has the disease (National Alliance for Hispanic Health) • Obesity & lack of physical activity are the leading risk factors for diabetes among Latinos • Many cases of diabetes could be prevented or delayed if these risk factors were addressed by public health interventions • Designing effective health programs that promote behavioral changes depends on understanding beliefs, values, customs, & constraints among individuals in the target population

Perceptions of diabetes, nutrition, & physical activity among Latino immigrants Goals: • Identify factors Perceptions of diabetes, nutrition, & physical activity among Latino immigrants Goals: • Identify factors that contribute to obesity & physical inactivity • Develop culturally-appropriate strategies to prevent diabetes In collaboration with AMEXCAN (Asociación de Mexicanos en Carolina del Norte) which has developed a diabetes awareness program in Pitt County, NC

Methods • Focus group discussions with adults (various ages) attending AMEXCAN’s diabetes awareness workshops Methods • Focus group discussions with adults (various ages) attending AMEXCAN’s diabetes awareness workshops • Held in a local church (n=11) & community center (n=12) • Discussions were conducted in Spanish • Most participants were from Mexico • Open-ended questions about diabetes, nutrition, & physical activity – Differences in diet & physical activity since migrating to the US • Responses transcribed during the discussions & later translated into English for analysis

Results What is diabetes? • • • “Terrible illness” “Incurable illness” (? ) “It Results What is diabetes? • • • “Terrible illness” “Incurable illness” (? ) “It is easy to get” “It is very dangerous” “Diabetes can cause death”

Diabetes, cont. Symptoms • Thirst • The need to urinate often • Disturbed sleep Diabetes, cont. Symptoms • Thirst • The need to urinate often • Disturbed sleep • Blurred vision Causes • Poor nutrition • Being overweight • Not doing physical activities/exercising • Eating sugar • Genetics/heredity

Diabetes, cont. Prevention Treatment • Do the same as you • Need more information Diabetes, cont. Prevention Treatment • Do the same as you • Need more information about would to prevent it diabetes • Take medicine • Exercise • Eat vegetables & fruits • Lower stress • Get health exams

How is diet related to diabetes? • Food is important, eating healthy • Many How is diet related to diabetes? • Food is important, eating healthy • Many people get diabetes because they eat poorly – EX: Fast food, hamburgers, sweets, French fries, bread, high fat foods, fried foods, pizza How is physical activity related to diabetes? • Exercise can regulate sugar • It is important to control your weight • Exercise is good for health

Physical activities What kind of physical activities do you do? • Women: Work in Physical activities What kind of physical activities do you do? • Women: Work in the home (housework only) • Men: physical activities at work (Ex: brickmasons) Benefits of physical activity? • It is important to be active • It makes you healthier • It makes you more active • Good conditioning/ physique • Healthy metabolism, circulation, strong heart & lungs

Have your physical activity levels changed since you came to the US? How? • Have your physical activity levels changed since you came to the US? How? • “There is a huge change!” • More sedentary • Walked more in Mexico, “Now we walk to the refrigerator” • “Before I walked every day to school and other places and biked, too” • “I walked all the time” • “[In the US] you don’t go anywhere if you don’t have a car, you are stuck at home” • “Here if we go to the park we walk, but there is even food at the park” • “I walk at work but not for exercise, it’s different” • “Washing clothes by hand was a good workout”, use machines now (also, vacuum cleaners)

What are the barriers to doing more physical activity? • There is not enough What are the barriers to doing more physical activity? • There is not enough time to exercise – Work • Too tired to exercise after working long hours • Cold – “When it is cold I don’t walk or like to go outside” – “It is cold now so we don’t do too much in terms of exercise” • Safety (? ) – “I am afraid to walk in my neighborhood because there are many dogs”

Nutrition What is a healthy diet? • Low in fat • Low in bread Nutrition What is a healthy diet? • Low in fat • Low in bread • High in fruit • Plenty of fruits & vegetables • drinking water • Eating grains, beans • “Corn is very nutritious” Benefits of good nutrition? • If eat well, less illnesses and disease

Has your diet changed since you came to the US? How? • Ate better Has your diet changed since you came to the US? How? • Ate better in Mexico, more nutritious diet • Eat fewer vegetables & fruit now • Vegetables & fruit are different here than in Mexico • Food has more fat and grease in the US – “Here they sell a lot of things with fat” – Eat more fast foods • Not as fresh, healthy, less flavor – “Meat is old because it’s frozen and shipped” – Meat is “injected” - has a different taste – “Before we could grow many things like corn, lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, garlic, and peppers on our own land” – “Food was from the country, not bought” – “We ate more grains and meat” – Food in the US isn’t “original” • Men & women have gained weight, health has declined

Barriers to eating healthier? • Time constraints (to cook and eat) • “It is Barriers to eating healthier? • Time constraints (to cook and eat) • “It is our custom to spend a lot of time cooking and eating, but it is not possible because we do not have time” – Work • Eat fast food now because of time constraints at work • 30 minutes to eat at work – Eating is organized around children’s schedules and husband’s schedules • “I buy fresh fruit and vegetables but I don’t have time to prepare them before they go bad and I need to throw them away” • Buy more canned food (not accustomed to canned food) • Children refuse to eat traditional Mexican food, “they are picky and want American food like pizza” – Too difficult to prepare two kinds of food (American & traditional Mexican) • Customs – Don’t eat many vegetables, not in traditional diet, cook with lard • Money is not a barrier to eating healthier, can buy cheaper food

Discussion • Emphasized seriousness of diabetes • Importance of nutrition & physical activity/exercise • Discussion • Emphasized seriousness of diabetes • Importance of nutrition & physical activity/exercise • But described barriers that specifically relate to life in the US – Had more nutritious diets & active lifestyles in Mexico – In the US, less fresh food, more high fat, convenient food – More sedentary, depend on cars, washing machines, don’t walk as much – Lead busy lives with insufficient time for cooking traditional meals & exercising

Conclusions • Lifestyle changes described can help us understand the factors that promote obesity Conclusions • Lifestyle changes described can help us understand the factors that promote obesity & physical inactivity (the major risk factors for diabetes) • Results have applied dimensions for designing diabetes prevention programs • Some issues that need to be addressed: – – time constraints (work, children’s schedules) children’s changing dietary preferences cold temperatures prevent outdoor activities customs (eating few vegetables, cooking with lard) • Community health initiatives must use culturally appropriate strategies that deal with these barriers in order to successfully prevent diabetes in the Latino community

Acknowledgments • We would like to thank AMEXCAN for collaborating with us on this Acknowledgments • We would like to thank AMEXCAN for collaborating with us on this project, especially Juvencio Rocha Peralta, AMEXCAN President & Juan Pablo Servin Ramírez, AMEXCAN Coordinator