An ethnic comparison of nutritional patterns and health habits in elderly patients with diabetes

Gladys W. Strain, Catherine Champagne, Sheila H. Roman

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1 Scopus citations


Thirty patients, including 10 African American (AA), 10 Caucasians (C), and 10 Hispanics (H) with diabetes, aged 65-80, were recruited to identify potential ethnic differences that may affect risk for the development of diabetes and its complications. The three groups did not differ significantly in age, Body Mass Index [BMI (weight/height)], waist/hip ratio, or fasting and 90 min. response to a sustacal challenge for blood glucose and C-peptide. Glycohemoglobin levels ranged from 4.6% to 16.7% with group means: AA-11.6%, C-9.3%, H-10.2%, (P < 0.07). Twenty-five percent of patients had made repeated efforts at weight loss and 67% reported brisk walking regularly. Seventeen percent were unable to exercise. Half of the patients had been regular smokers but no one currently smoked. Food intake data from 24 hour records and food frequency questionnaires modified for ethnicity produced somewhat problematic results as caloric intakes had poor correlation with BMI. Unsaturated fats for H averaged 30 grams compared with 45g for C and 65g for AA (P < 0.02). This data suggests the possibility of more incomplete reporting by H and also that currently available Hispanic recipes may underestimate the fat content used. AA reported higher saturated fat intake than the other two groups. We conclude: 1. Nutritional patterns in fat intake may differ by ethnicity. 2. Elderly patients with diabetes report modification of behavioral risk factors that may have contributed to their longevity. 3. Increased information on ethnic foods and habits may lead to an approach to nutritional intervention in elderly patients with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nutrition for the Elderly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 29 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • Elderly
  • Food intake
  • Glycemic control
  • Minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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