Culturally appropriate recommendations for East Indian patients with diabetes are not readily available. This study presents an initial attempt to determine traditional food preferences, diabetes knowledge, attitudes about the standard American diet, and interactions with health care providers regarding their medical condition in East Indian adults (Mean age = 67.5) with type 2 diabetes mellitus (n=55). Respondents were shown a diabetes health message that was either positive in emphasis or culturally sensitive in emphasis. Positive messaging was hypothesized as less relevant than culturally sensitive messaging. URICA change scores, perceived relevance of health messaging, a food frequency assessment, and the Asian Indian Dietary Acculturation Measure were also administered to better understand the sample. Results indicated an overall lower level of acculturation of study participants, and that individuals preferring mostly traditional foods perceived healthcare providers’ dietary recommendations as irrelevant. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between URICA and DKT2 scores suggesting that individuals who are not ready to change are less likely to be receptive to recommendations, which provides even greater support for the use of culturally tailored recommendations. It is noteworthy that participants reporting good care from their diabetes providers were no more knowledgeable about their diabetes than those who reported inadequate care provision. This may reflect a cultural value for showing respect for and deference to medical providers in combination with a health literacy issue in this sample. Implications for the use of these tools with East Indian patients with type 2 diabetes are discussed as well broad considerations of culturally relevant health messaging for individuals unlikely to be able to implement dietary recommendations that reference the standard American diet.
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