Nutrition experts and researchers have put forward evidence that links the prevalence of diabetes to the level of poverty. Several studies conducted to investigate the issues have yielded positive results and have revealed that communities with higher levels of poverty derive most of their nutritional requirements from fats, sugars, and meat products. Further, these communities have a low intake of foods that reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Generally, the higher the level of poverty, the worse the diet, and hence the higher the chances of developing diabetes.
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A study by Drewnowski and Specter (2003) revealed that conditions such as obesity and diabetes are more prevalent among communities with lower education levels. The study showed that hard economic conditions make these communities more vulnerable to unhealthy diets leading to diabetes. Another study conducted at Yale University by Andreyeva et al (2008) reported that healthy foods are less available in neighborhoods with high poverty levels. Besides, food production is usually of lower nutritional value in these communities as compared to those that are wealthy. The paper also reported that low-income earners have difficulty purchasing healthy foods due to the unavailability of these foods in the neighborhood. Consequently, a considerable disparity in the prevalence of diabetes occurs between communities with high levels of poverty and those that are wealthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008) estimates Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 7.8 percent of the US population. Although this figure seems small, obesity, the most common risk factor of diabetes, is steadily rising. Experts approximate that almost 68 percent of the US population above 20 years is obese (Flegal et al, 2010). The figures are higher for communities that live in poverty.
This tool allows medical staff to evaluate a diabetes patient’s primary and secondary care in the management of the condition. The tool is particularly useful with resistant patients as it emphasizes patients’ life situations and their role in early detection and relieving of the symptoms of diabetes. This concept stems from the fact that patients’ drive or readiness to change their health-related behavior concerning diabetes management is influenced by both their perception of the significance of change and their knowledge of the management methods.
The tool is appropriate in the collection of data relating to diabetes management from communities living in poverty. These communities do not have adequate access to health facilities, yet they are the most vulnerable to diabetes and causative conditions such as obesity. The tool recognizes the difficulty in accessing medical facilities and focuses on self-care among patients. The tool is quite useful in collecting data about patients’ recognition of their role in early detection and management of the symptoms of diabetes in the said community.
Andreyeva, T., et al. (2008). Availability and Prices of Foods across Stores and Neighborhoods: The Case of New Haven, Connecticut. Health Affairs, 27, no. 5 (2008): 1381-1388.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). National diabetes fact sheet: general information and national estimates on diabetes in the United States, 2007. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Drewnowski, A., Specter, S.E. 2004. Poverty and obesity: diet quality, energy density, and energy costs. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 79:6-16.
Flegal K. M., Carroll M. D., Ogden C. L., Curtin L. R. (2008). Prevalence and Trends in Obesity among US Adults, 199-2008. JAMA. 303 (3): 235-241.