Use of complementary and alternative therapies by rural African Americans with type 2 diabetes

Randy A. Jones, Sharon Utz, Jennifer Wenzel, Richard Steeves, Ivora Hinton, Dana Andrews, Alison Murphy, Norman Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The prevalence of type 2 diabetes among non-Hispanic African American adults aged 20 years and older is 11.4%, compared to 8.4% non-Hispanic whites. Given the high rate of diabetes in this population, it is important to determine whether African Americans use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and if so, what kind. Such information is important to healthcare professionals who prescribe therapies and make self-care recommendations to those with diabetes. The use of CAM by African Americans with diabetes has not been well studied, however, particularly among those living in rural areas. This descriptive study was conducted in 2 rural communities in Central Virginia to explore the use of CAM therapies and the role of religion and spirituality in dealing with diabetes among adult African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Sixty-eight participants attended 1 of 8 focus group sessions in various community settings and described their use of alternative therapies. According to these sessions, the most common alternative therapies used are prayer, diet-based therapies, and natural products. The participants' descriptions enhance our understanding of CAM use among rural African Americans with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalAlternative therapies in health and medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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