LIFESTYLE MANAGEMENT TO REDUCE DIABETES/CARDIOVASCULAR RISK (B CONWAY AND H KEENAN, SECTION EDITORS)
Understanding Cultural Influences on Dietary Habits in Asian,
Middle Eastern, and Latino Patients with Type 2 Diabetes:
A Review of Current Literature and Future Directions
Sherita Hill Golden
Published online: 23 October 2017
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017
Purpose of Review This review focuses on evaluating and
identifying gaps in the current literature regarding culturally
specific dietary influences for patients with type 2 diabetes. As
this topic has previously been examined in African American
populations, we chose to focus on four other distinct popula-
tions (Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Western Pacific, South
Asian). Given the rapid increase in global rates of type 2
diabetes and high rates of diabetes among certain ethnic
groups, it is important to understand how culturally adapted
strategies in diabetes management have been described in dif-
ferent regions and populations.
Recent Findings The specific role of nutrition in controlling
diabetes is tied to cultural habits and customs. Variation in
cultural practices, including diet, create unique environments
in which patients with diabetes must navigate.
Summary The role of family, particularly among Hispanics, is
crucial to cultural adaptations of diabetes management.
Incorporating alternative medicine, namely observed in
Chinese and Indian populations, also guided diabetes care
strategies. Language barriers, health literacy, and acculturation
were all unique factors affecting cultural approaches to diabe-
tes management in these four populations. Understanding
such cultural determinants is crucial to addressing diabetes
disparities and improving outcomes.
Keywords Type 2 diabetes
The epidemic surge in type 2 diabetes (T2DM) over the past
few decades has impacted numerous regions globally.
Diabetes rates vary significantly by region and ethnicity and
pose a significant public health and financial burden to local
governments. According to the 2013 Diabetes Atlas, 366 mil-
lion people worldwide are affected by type 2 diabetes . The
diabetes prevalence rate for non-Hispanic African Americans
in the USA is 13.2% . Approximately 36% of individuals
with T2DM reside in the Western Pacific region  and dia-
betes prevalence rates vary from 10.7% in the Federated States
of Micronesia to 47.3% in American Samoa . Diabetes
rates are higher in Hispanic individuals compared to non-
Hispanic whites [4, 5]. In 2012, approximately 12.8% of
Latino adults in the USA had diabetes, whereas 7.6% of
non-Hispanic whites were affected . Cardiovascular com-
plications are disproportionately higher in Hispanics than
whites  and renal impairment, and blindness are dispropor-
tionately higher in Hispanics, African Americans, and Native
Americans than whites. . The Middle Eastern region is
estimated to have a diabetes prevalence of 9.3% .
Countries in the Arabian Peninsula, including Qatar, Kuwait,
and Bahrain have estimated rates of 24, 12.8, and 22.1%,
to range from 2 to 8% in 2008 . The prevalence of diabetes
in South Asia, particularly India, has been increasing [12, 13].
Urbanized areas in India have reported rates as high as 16.8%
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Lifestyle Management to
Reduce Diabetes/Cardiovascular Risk
* Sherita Hill Golden
Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine,
Charlottesville, VA, USA
Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and
Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 E.
Monument Street, Suite 333, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
Curr Diab Rep (2017) 17: 126