Diabetes Millitus Patients within Minority Communities. Cultural and Lifestyle Influences

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2014

16 Pages, Grade: B+


Table of Contents



Problem Statement

Literature Review

Risk Factors of Diabetes Mellitus amongst Minority Groups
Impact of Cultural Perceptions and Lifestyle on Diabetes Mellitus Care
Reducing Racial Disparities in Diabetes Mellitus Care

Research Question

Study Population
Data Collection
Ethical Considerations

Proposed Data Analysis Method and Presentation

Expected Results

Discussion of Findings in Relation To Literature

Conclusion and Recommendations



The number of individuals belonging to minority communities is the US is increasing, and most of these communities are more susceptible to diabetes mellitus than other but majority populations. This could be because of genetic preference for diabetes mellitus and because of an unbalanced access to adequate healthcare. Therefore, understanding various cultural views is essential in providing healthcare for individuals in the minority communities within the US. The aim of this research is to find out the cultural and lifestyle influences on health of diabetes patients within minority communities. This paper achieves its objectives by examining 1) background research on the topic including statistics of diabetes mellitus among specific populations; 2) risk factors of diabetes mellitus amongst minority groups; 3) impact of cultural perceptions and lifestyle on diabetes mellitus care, and; 4) ways of reducing racial disparities in diabetes mellitus care. This proposed research ends with conclusions and recommendations on the topic.


Diabetes mellitus (also referred to as Type Two diabetes) remains to be the seventh primary cause of deaths in the United States of America with a comparatively high mortality rate being found in the minority communities compared to the White majority. Some individuals, especially those belonging to some racial or ethnic minority communities can be at a certain risk in relation to getting effective diabetes mellitus care due to various reasons. Being a chronic illness, diabetes mellitus (DM) exhibits a disparate effect on individuals belonging to these racial or ethnic minority communities (Guthrie and Guthrie 2009). A higher preponderance for diabetes mellitus occurs among minority communities compared to the Whites. Consequently, some of these minority communities have very high rates of complications and deaths related to diabetes mellitus.

A national analysis conducted by the US Department of Health and Human Services provided important data showing that Mexican-American adults individuals were twice as likely as non-Hispanic white adults to get a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus by a doctor (Vinicor 2011). The Mexican-American minority community also had higher rates of older-stage nephritic disease related to diabetes mellitus as compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts (Vinicor 2011). Apart from getting over the language and cultural barriers that are evident for minority groups, some of the diabetic patients may also be at risk of having culturally mistaken notion about healthcare givers in relation to diabetes mellitus. Additional research needs to be done among minority communities to determine if the strategies for promoting and supporting healthy lifestyles in relation to the management of diabetes mellitus are efficient.

Problem Statement

There have been relatively a few behavioral researches focusing on minority communities and diabetes mellitus. The accessibility to knowledge about diabetes mellitus among minority groups (such as African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos) in the U.S has made it hard to curb the increasing prevalence and incidence of diabetes mellitus among these populations, and has hugely highlighted the significance of this issue in the public health. Previous and current researches have established that mutations within the insulin promoter factor–1 gene—the β-cell recording feature, which is crucial to pancreatic growth and sustenance of β-cell mass—increases vulnerability to type diabetes mellitus amongst the minority group of African-Americans (Poretsky 2010). On the contrary, the same genotype does not cause Type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus among White individuals.

Past investigations and findings indicate that Hispanics and Latinos are about 60% more likely to encounter deaths and complications related to diabetes mellitus compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts (Talamantes, Lindeman, and Mouton n.d.). Diabetes mellitus is a rising epidemic among minority communities in America, especially the Hispanic or Latino and the African-America populations. There is an increase in the concern on increasing course of diabetes mellitus, especially among children and adolescents, specifically from the African-American and Hispanic communities, who are apparently at a greater risk of suffering from the disease.

Literature Review


According to the statistics given by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD), an approximated 2.5 million American adults with Hispanic and Latino origins are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. This is very overwhelming, considering that the number is about 9.5% of the entire Hispanic and Latino Americans’ population. The report indicated that the minority community of Hispanic and Latino Americans are averagely 1.9 times more probable to get diabetes mellitus compared to non-Hispanic white individuals at the same age. In addition, the statistics indicated that an approximated 50% of children born of Hispanic and Latino family in 2000 were likely to get diabetes mellitus in the course of their lives (Franz, 2001).

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) data in 1995 indicated that minorities such as African- Americans, American-Indians, and Hispanics experienced a diabetes mortality rate of 19.3% to 28.5%, while the Caucasian-Americans rate was 11.7% (National Institutes of Health 2000). Notwithstanding the ages of individuals in a community or group, the overall health results for most minority Americans with diabetes mellitus seem to be suboptimal. Complications related to diabetes mellitus that face these minority communities include stroke and heart diseases, amputations, loss of sight, renal diseases, nervous system disease, and numerous life-threatening occurrences. These conditions remain grave worries for minority patients with diabetes mellitus. It has been noted that such grievous outcomes are experienced in these communities regardless of today’s utilization rates and access to health care and screening of the complications of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperglycemia, and dyslipidemia. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus amongst Hispanics is twice or thrice that of non-Hispanic Whites.

The occurrence of diabetes mellitus amongst various American-Indian groups varies from approximately 12% to more than 50%. The higher rate of this prevalence was documented in individuals aged 35 and above. According to a research report filed by the Strong Heart Study of American-Indians in four American states, prevalence rates of diabetes Mellitus was about 33% to 72%. After an adjustment in the age differences among the minority population, the 2007-2009 national survey statistics for individuals diagnosed with diabetes mellitus according to the prevalence by race and ethnicity include 11.8% being Hispanics; 12.6% of non-Hispanic blacks, 7.1% being non-Hispanic whites; and 8.4% of Asian-Americans (NDEP n.d.).

Risk Factors of Diabetes Mellitus amongst Minority Groups

A factor that has a great impact on the diabetes mellitus care for the minority populations in America is the absence of access to proper health care. This has greatly led to health disparities amongst these people. One of the major determining factors of access to quality healthcare is health insurance coverage. Other determinants include having basic healthcare facilities and having current contact with healthcare providers (Hurley 2010). The minority communities lack all these necessities completely, or have them but they are inadequate. Compared with individuals in other racial and ethnic groups, specifically the non-Hispanic whites, individuals from minority communities like the Hispanics and the American-Indians are more likely to lack healthcare insurance coverage. This is in accordance with the report published by the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Additional research has found out that members from minority communities who suffer from diabetes mellitus are also faced by other economic barriers, which hinder their treatment. Research indicates that the economic status of the minority population in the United States is comparatively lower compared to the non-Hispanic white counterparts. This economic shortcoming has significant consequences on the health and healthcare of these minority populations. Particularly, in addition to being low-income earners, the Americans belonging to most minority groups, such as Hispanics or African-Americans, do not have health insurance coverage (Hurley 2010; Kahn and Joslin, 2005).

Impact of Cultural Perceptions and Lifestyle on Diabetes Mellitus Care

The minority population in the US is a combination of various communities including African-Americans, Latinos, and Hispanics. Hispanics include all individuals from Spanish-speaking nations, factoring in their cultural beliefs, their education, their values, and their socioeconomic status, while Latinos include all individuals from the Latin-American nations, which have different cultural beliefs, traditions, and values (Hurley 2010). These minority communities are a composition of many different cultures and some minor similarities amongst them. For instance, for the Hispanics and the Latinos’ culture, family is imperative and can affect an individual’s healthcare practices. Research demonstrates that family significant support accorded by family is vital in warranting patient’s adherence to diabetes mellitus management activities. The lack of family support gives patients less motivation to manage diabetes mellitus properly. Managing an intricate chronic disease such as diabetes touches on the suffering individual and his or her family members since it involves much knowledge and responsibilities, and sometimes painful complications, such as amputations, blindness, and heart diseases.

Some of the minority communities have a laid-back perspective on life and some actually consider diabetes mellitus to be the result of divine mediation; while others use traditional medicine to treat diabetes mellitus. In an analysis of 104 adult patients from the Hispanic community, 78% of them claimed diabetes mellitus was due to God’s will, while 17% used herbaceous plants to cure the condition. Thus, experts suggest that it is imperative to understand the religious and spiritual perceptions of patients when addressing the issue of diabetes mellitus and other health issues in the minority population.


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Diabetes Millitus Patients within Minority Communities. Cultural and Lifestyle Influences
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diabetes, millitus, patients, minority, communities, cultural, lifestyle, influences
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Mercy Njiru (Author), 2014, Diabetes Millitus Patients within Minority Communities. Cultural and Lifestyle Influences, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/314821


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