Giving All Latinos the Same Diabetes Care May Mean Inappropriate Treatment for Some

Studying the quality of care for diabetes among ethnic minorities with a focus on the impact of acculturation factors

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine analyzed national survey data to understand differences in the quality of diabetes care and the impact of acculturation among three Latino subgroups in the United States—Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and Other Latinos — and for Latinos in general. They defined acculturation as cultural change that occurs with the assimilation of minority individuals into the majority culture.

Key Findings

  • The researchers reported the following findings in an article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 2007:

    • Mexicans and other Latinos born in the United States were significantly less likely than Puerto Ricans to have only one doctor for their diabetes care.
    • Mexicans were less likely than Puerto Ricans to know about HbA1c (a blood test that determines the quality of diabetes self-management by providing an average blood glucose [sugar] measurement over a six- to 12-week period).
    • Among Latino immigrants, Mexicans and other Latinos were significantly less likely than Puerto Ricans to have only one doctor for their diabetes care.
  • The researchers reported the following finding in an article in Annals of Family Medicine, 2007:

    • More-acculturated Latino adults had less healthy diets (they ate less fiber and more saturated fats) than less-acculturated Latino adults, based on the American Diabetes Association 1994 and 2006 guidelines.

Conclusions

  • The researchers reported the following conclusion in the article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine:

    • Differences in diabetes management exist among Latino ethnic subgroups in the United States; treating all Latinos in the same manner may be a barrier to providing appropriate care.