We know that Hispanics/Latinos are one of the groups most affected by diabetes and health inequalities. Hispanics/Latinos often benefit less from diabetes education programs even when these programs are culturally adapted to the community. In a recent study, researchers looked at Hispanic/Latino adults enrolled in a diabetes prevention program and how likely they were to adopt recommended healthy lifestyle changes. They found that the participants’ readiness to develop new behaviors depended on certain factors. For example, if someone received a doctor referral or if someone experienced negative personal or family health situations, then that person is usually more ready to create healthy change in their daily life. In contrast, factors like environment, financial constraints, and the fear of social isolation were major barriers in people making healthy behavior changes. However, social support, doctor involvement, and awareness of diabetes complications minimized these barriers. As a result, the doctor-patient relationship and the emotional personal/family cost of behavior change are factors that should be considered when planning diabetes prevention programs for low-income Hispanic/Latinos. Health educators and providers should be aware of how behavior change can negatively impact family dynamics, and be prepared to address this issue.
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