Understanding South-Asians’ Eating Practices in Diabetes Management: A Call for Cultural Sensitivity
London, August 15 – The rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in Britain has taken center stage, with particular vulnerability observed among the South-Asian community. Experts attribute this concerning trend to cultural nuances that influence South Asians’ health behaviors related to the risk and management of T2DM. A recent study underscores the crucial need to comprehend these cultural influences on eating practices, as they hold the key to improving health behaviors and combating the escalating burden of T2DM.
In an effort to unravel the intricate web of cultural factors impacting eating habits, a comprehensive scoping literature review was conducted. The study focused on primary research conducted in Britain, delving into South-Asians’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors surrounding eating practices concerning the risk and management of T2DM. The review period spanned from January 2000 to December 2022, encompassing data from PubMed, Applied Social Sciences Index & Abstracts, Scopus, and International Bibliography of the Social Sciences. Data synthesis and analysis employed an inductive grounded theory approach.
The results of this meticulous analysis unveiled 19 primary studies that shed light on the complex interplay of cultural norms, beliefs, and attitudes within the South-Asian community’s approach to T2DM. Stigma, a lack of awareness, gender roles, and culturally inappropriate healthcare advice were identified as formidable barriers obstructing healthy eating behaviors. Conversely, positive influences such as family involvement and tailoring advice to the South-Asian lifestyle emerged as facilitators of healthy eating practices. It was evident that attitudes toward eating practices varied across different age groups, generations, and education levels within the community.
As the study draws to a close, it delivers a resounding call for a multi-interventional approach to address these challenges. The imperative lies in enhancing awareness, alleviating stigma, and making healthy eating options more accessible to South-Asians. The study emphasizes the critical importance of healthcare professionals gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural context to provide effective guidance and support. Furthermore, the need for additional research is highlighted to delve into the social determinants that impact South-Asians’ health behaviors, ensuring that interventions are tailored to suit the cultural and contextual nuances of this diverse community.
As Britain’s South-Asian population grapples with the growing specter of type 2 diabetes mellitus, this study serves as a clarion call to prioritize cultural sensitivity and tailored interventions in the fight against this debilitating health challenge. The insights gleaned from this research can pave the way for a more informed, effective, and inclusive approach to diabetes management within the South-Asian community.