Effects of Food-Related Interventions for African American Women With Type 2 Diabetes

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The purpose of this systematic review is to synthesize research that tested culturally competent food-related interventions designed for African American women with type 2 diabetes, to review the current state of the literature and suggest recommendations for future research. Many African American women with type 2 diabetes are challenged to change their culturally rooted food habits to achieve diabetes control. Diabetes educators and clinicians who work with African American women need knowledge of effective interventions to assist their clients.


Online databases and research articles' reference lists were searched for relevant studies published from 1989 to 2010 that tested culturally competent type 2 diabetes management interventions for African American women, that included at least 1 educational session on diet or nutrition, and that addressed a physiologic outcome, such as glycosylated hemoglobin or fasting blood glucose.


Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. Among them, 64% to 100% of the participants were African Americans, and 65% to 100% were women. Six studies showed significant improvements in food practices, and 8 showed significant improvements in glycemic control as a result of the interventions.


Few studies focused solely on helping African American women make culturally relevant dietary changes to control type 2 diabetes. Most interventions addressed food habits as one of many components for diabetes control, perhaps overwhelming research participants with large amounts of varied information. Targeted interventions are recommended that focus on dietary changes as the foundation for diabetes self-management education for African American women.

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