University of California

Diabetes-related health beliefs explored in low-income Latinos


Lucia L Kaiser
Marciel A Klenk
Anna C Martin
Anna Olivares
Amy B Joy
Hugo Quiñonez-Melgar

Authors Affiliations

L.L. Kaiser is Community Nutrition Specialist, Department of Nutrition, UC Davis; M.A. Klenk is Nutrition, Family and Consumer Science Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Napa County; A.C. Martin is Nutrition, Family and Consumer Science Advisor, UCCE San Joaquin County; A. Olivares is EFNEP Nutrition Educator, UCCE San Joaquin County; A.B. Joy is EFNEP Adult Program Specialist; H. Quiñonez-Melgar is Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Nutrition, UC Davis. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Nancy Feldman in conducting the research and UC MEXUS in funding the project.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 57(1):8-12. DOI:10.3733/ca.v057n01p8. January 2003.

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We conducted focus group dis-cussions and a survey to explore diabetes-related health beliefs and to assess educational needs among low-income Latino adults, primarily of Mexican descent. We found that many low-income Latinos served through UC Cooperative Extension programs may be at high risk of developing diabetes. At the same time, many of those at risk lack awareness of risk factors for dia-betes, have never been screened and do not know where to go for advice. Although some were unsure of the true causal connection, 64% of the focus group participants had heard that susto (stress or strong emotion) might be related to onset of the illness. In addition to increasing awareness of the disease and reducing barriers to care, nutrition educators can help program partici-pants by identifying ways to alleviate the effects of stress and lower the risk of diabetes through a healthy lifestyle.


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Kaiser L, Klenk M, Martin A, Olivares A, Joy A, Quiñonez-Melgar H. 2003. Diabetes-related health beliefs explored in low-income Latinos. Hilgardia 57(1):8-12. DOI:10.3733/ca.v057n01p8
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