Cultural Aspects of Diabetes

Selected and compiled by Jacquelyn Coughlan, M.S., M.L.S.

Abdullah, L., Margolis, S., & Townsend, T. (2001). Primary health care patients' knowledge about diabetes in the United Arab Emirates. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 7(4-5), 662-670.


Adams, C. R. (2003). Lessons learned from urban Latinas with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 14(3), 255-265).


Ahmed, A. M. (2003). Cultural aspects of diabetes mellitus in Sudan. Practical Diabetes International, 20(6), 226-229.


Ahmed, A. M., Hussein, A., Kheir, M., & Ahmed, N. H. (2001). Impact of diabetes mellitus on Sudanese women. Practical Diabetes International, 18(4), 115-118.


Aikins, A. D. (2003). Living with diabetes in rural and urban Ghana: A critical social psychological examination of illness action and scope for intervention. Journal of Health Psychology, 8(5), 557-572.

Aikins, A.D. (2005). Healer shopping in Africa: New evidence from rural-urban qualitative study of Ghanaian diabetes experiences. BMJ - British Medical Journal, 331(7519), 737-744.

Alcozer, F. (2000). Secondary analysis of perceptions and meanings of type 2 diabetes among Mexican American women. The Diabetes Educator, 26(5), 785- 795.


Allan, J. D. (2006). African American beliefs about diabetes- Commentary by Allan. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 28(1), 36-38.


Anderson-Loftin, W., Barnett, S., Bunn, P., Sullivan, P., Hussey, J., & Tavakoli, A. (2005). Soul food light: Culturally competent diabetes education. The Diabetes Educator, 31(4), 555-563.


Arcury, T. A., Skelly, A. H., Gesler, W. M., & Dougherty, M. C. (2004). Diabetes meanings among those without diabetes: Explanatory models of immigrant Latinos in rural North Carolina. Social Science & Medicine, 59(11), 2183-2193.

Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations - AAPCHO. (2005). Asian-American and Pacific Islander diabetes related resources. (6 pages). Retrieved February 17, 2009 from
Awah, P.K. & Phillimore, P. (2008). Diabetes, medicine, and modernity in Cameroon. Africa, 78(4), 475-495. 

Azizi, F., & Siahkolah, B. (1998). Ramadan fasting and diabetes mellitus. International Journal of Ramadan Fasting Research, 2, 8-17.


Bailey, C., & Day, C. (1989). Traditional plant medicines as treatment for diabetes. Diabetes Care, 12(8), 553-564.


Barnes, L., Moss-Morris, R., & Kaufusi, M. (2004). Illness beliefs and adherence in diabetes mellitus: A comparison between Tongan and European patients. New Zealand Medical Journal, 117(1188), U743.


Barton, S. S., Anderson, N., & Thommasen, H. V. (2005). The diabetes experiences of Aboriginal people living in a rural Canadian community. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 13(4), 242-246.


Bernal, H. (1996). Self-management of diabetes in a Puerto Rican population. Public Health Nursing, 3(1), 38-47.


Bertorelli, A. M. (1990). Nutrition counseling: Meeting the needs of ethnic clients with diabetes. Diabetes Educator, 16(4), 285-286, 289.

Borovoy, A. & Hine, J. (2008). Managing the unmanageable: Elderly Russian Jewish emigres and the biomedical culture of diabetes care. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 22(1), 1-26. 
Briscoe, V. J., & Pichert, J. W. (1999). Evaluation of a program to promote diabetes care via existing agencies in African American communities. ABNF Journal, 10(5), 111-115.

Brown, S. A., Garcia, A. A., & Winchell, M. (2002). Reaching underserved populations and cultural competence in diabetes education. Current Diabetes Reports, 2(2), 166-176.


Brown, V., Alemu, S., et al. (1998). Diabetes in Ethiopia: Overcoming the problems of care delivery. Journal of Diabetes Nursing, 2(1), 28-31.


Burden, M. (2001). Culturally sensitive care: Managing diabetes during Ramadan. British Journal of Community Nursing, 6(11), 581-585.

Caballero, A. & Tenzer, P. (2007).  Building cultural competency for improved Diabetes care: Latino Americans and Diabetes.  Supplement to Journal of Family Practice, 56(9) S21-S30. 

Caballero, A. E. (2005). Diabetes in the Hispanic or Latino population: Genes, environment, culture, and more. Current Diabetes Report, 5(3), 217-225.

Caballero, A.E. (2007). Cultural competence in diabetes mellitus care: An urgent need. Insulin, 2(2), 81-91.

Caban, A., & Walker, E. A. (2006). A systematic review of research on culturally relevant issues for Hispanics with diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 32(4), 584-595.


Campos, C. (2006). Narrowing the cultural divide in diabetes mellitus care: A focus on improving cultural competency to better serve Hispanic/Latino populations. Insulin, 1(2), 70-76.

Carbone, E.T., Rosal, M.C., Torres, M.I., Goins, K.V., & Bermudez, O.I. (2007). Diabetes self-management: Perspectives of Latino patients and their health care providers. Patient Education & Counseling, 66(2), 202-219.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). National Diabetes Education Program. Retrieved July 3, 2008, from

Chelsa, C.A. & Chun, K.M. (2005). Accommodating type 2 diabetes in the Chinese American family. Qualitative Health Research, 15(2), 240-255.

Chun, K. M., Chesla, C. A. (2004). Cultural issues in disease management for Chinese Americans with type 2 diabetes. Psychology and Health, 19(6), 767-785.


Cockram, C. S. (2000). Diabetes mellitus: Perspective from the Asia-Pacific region. Diabetes Research and Clinical practice, 50(Suppl 2), S3-S7.


Cohen, M. Z., Tripp-Reimer, T., Smith, C., et al. (1994). Explanatory models of diabetes: Patient and practitioner variation. Social Science and Medicine, 38(1), 59-66.

Colagiuri, R., Thomas, M., & Buckley, A. (2007). preventing type 2 diabetes in culturally and linguistically diverse communities in NSW. Retrieved December 18, 2008 from

Coronado, G. D., Thompson, B., Tejeda, S., & Godina, R. (2004). Attitudes and beliefs among Mexican Americans about type 2 diabetes. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 15(4), 576-588.


Cosby, J. L., & Houlden, R. L. (1996). Health beliefs toward diabetes mellitus in two Ontario first nation populations. Canadian Journal of Diabetes Care, 20, 12-19.

Culhane-Pera, K.A., Her, C., & Her, B. (2007). "We are out of balance here": A Hmong cultural model of diabetes. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 9(3), 179-190.
Culhane-Pera, K.A., Peterson, K.A., Crain, A.L., Center, B.A., Lee, M., Her, B., & Xiong, T. (2005). Group visits for Hmong adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A pre-post analysis. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 16(2), 315-327. 
Daniulaitye, R. (2004). Making sense of diabetes cultural models, gender and individual adjustment to type 2 diabetes in a Mexican community. Social Science and Medicine, 59(9), 1899-1912.

Davies, K. (2006). Addressing the needs of an ethnic minority diabetic population. British Journal of Nursing, 15(9), 516-519.


De-Graft Alkins, A. (2005). Healer shopping in Africa: New evidence from rural-urban qualitative study of Ghanaian diabetes experiences. British Medical Journal, 331(7519), 737-742.

Dev Bhattarai, M. & Singh, D.L. (2007). Learning the lessons - Preventing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Voice, 52(2), 9-11.
Devlin, H., Roberts, M., Okaya, A., & Xiong, Y.M. (2006). Our lives were healthier before: Focus groups with African American, American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, and Hmong people with diabetes. Health Promotion Practice, 7(1), 47-55.

Diabetes Australia. (2008). Multilingual - Diabetes translated resources. Information in Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, English, Greek,Italian, Spanish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. Retrieved September 29, 2008, from

Diabetes Monitor. (2007). Diabetes on the web: Websites multilinguisticos. This website was created in an attempt to help people with diabetes from throughout the world. Retrieved July 9, 2008, from
Drozd, M. (2000). Cultural sensitivity in diabetes care. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 12(5), 1-6.
Ethnomed - University of Washington Harborview Medical Center. (2003). Multicultural diabetes materials. Available in Amharic, Cambodian, English, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tigrean, and Vietnamese. Retrieved November 3, 2008 from

Figueira, E. (2003). Diabetes and the pilgrimage of Hajj: Piloting of an education programme for Muslim patients with diabetes. Diabetes Today, 6, 41-42.


Georgia State University. (2004). Bilingual diabetes handouts. Retrieved July 3, 2008, from

Gilliland, S.S., Willmer, A.J., McCalman, R., Davis, S., Hickey, M.E., Perez, G.E., Owen, C.L., & Carter, J.S. (1998). Adaptation of the Dartmouth COOP charts for use among American Indian people with diabetes. Diabetes Care, 21(5), 770-776. 
Goody, C.M. & Drago, L. (2009). Using cultural competence constructs to understand food practices and provide diabetes care and education. Diabetes Spectrum, 22, 43-47.

Green, V. (2004). Understanding different religions when caring for diabetes patients. British Journal of Nursing, 13(11), 658-662.

Greenhalgh, P.M. (1997). Diabetes in British South Asians: Nature, nurture, and culture. Diabetic Medicine, 14(1), 10-18.
Greenhalgh, T., Helman, C., & Chowdhury, A.M. (1998). Health beliefs and folk models of diabetes in British Bangladeshis: A qualitative study. BMJ, 316(7136), 978-983. 
Greenhalgh, T., Helman, C., Chowdhury, A. M. (1998). Health beliefs and folk models of diabetes in British Bangladeshis: A qualitative study. British Medical Journal, 316, 978-983. Retrieved October 29, 2008 from

Guruge, S., Lee, R. N., & Hagey, R. (2001). When conventional diabetes care is viewed as complementary: Perspectives of a Chinese client. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 7(2), 117-120.


Hadwiger, S. (2005). Acculturation and diabetes in a new Hispanic community. Hispanic Health Care International, 3(3), 133-42.


Hagey, R. (2000). Cultural safety: Honoring traditional ways of life. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 6(4), 233-236.


Hamdan, I., & Affi, F. (2004). Studies on the in vitro hypoglycemic activities of some medicinal plants used in treatment of diabetes in Jordanian traditional medicine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 93(1), 117-121.

Hawthorne, K, Robles, Y., Cannings-John, R., & Edwards, A.G.K. (2008). Culturally appropriate health education for type 2 diabetes mellitus in ethnic minority groups. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3. (354 pages).
Hawthorne, K. (2001). Effect of culturally appropriate health education on glycaemic control and knowledge of diabetes in British Pakistani women with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Health Education Research, 16(3), 373-381. 

Hawthorne, K., Mello, M., & Tomlinson, S. (1993). Cultural and religious influences in diabetes care in Great Britain. Diabetic Medicine, 10(1), 8-12.

Heuer, L., & Lausch, C. (2006). Living with diabetes: Perceptions of Hispanic migrant farmworkers. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 23(1), 49-64.
Hjelm, K. & Nambozi, G. (2008). Beliefs about health and illness: A comparison between Ugandan men and women living with Diabetes Mellitus. International Nursing Review, 55(4), 434-441.

Hjelm, K., Bard, K., Nyberg, P., & Apelqvist J. (2007). Management of gestational diabetes from the patient's perspective- a comparison of Swedish and Middle-Eastern born women. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 16(1), 168-178.

Hjelm, K., Bard, K., Nyberg, P., & Aplqvist, J. (2003). Religious and cultural distance in beliefs about health and illness in women with diabetes mellitus of different origin living in Sweden. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 40(6), 627-643.

Hjelm, K., Bard, K., Nyberg, P., & Aplqvist, J. (2005). Beliefs about health and diabetes in men of different ethnic origin. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 50(1), 47-59.


Hjelm, K., Bard, K., Nyberg, P., Apelqvist, J. (2004). Swedish and Middle-Eastern-born women's beliefs about gestational diabetes. Midwifery, 21(1), 44-60.

Hjelm, K., Isacsson, A., & Apelqvist, J. (1998). Health care professionals' perceptions of beliefs about health and illness in immigrants with diabetes mellitus. Practical Diabetes International, 15(8), 233-237.

Hosler, A. S., & Melnik, T. A. (2006). Language and other factors associated with foot self-management among Puerto Ricans with diabetes in New York City. Diabetes Care, 29(3), 704-706.


Hosler, A. S., Melnik, T. A., & Spence, M. M. (2004). Diabetes and its related risk factors among Russian speaking immigrants in New York state. Ethnicity & Disease, 14(3), 372-377.


Hunt, L. M., Arar, N. H., & Akana, L. L. (2000). Herbs, prayer, and insulin: Use of medical and alternative treatments by a group of Mexican American diabetes patients. Journal of Family Practice, 49(3), 216-223.


Hunt, L. M., Valenzuela, M. A. & Pugh, J. A. (1998). Porque me toco a mi? Mexican American diabetes patients’ causal stories and their relationship to treatment behaviors. Social Science and Medicine, 46(8), 959-969.

Ibrahim, M.A. (2007). Managing diabetes during Ramadan. Diabetes Voice, 52(2), 19-22.

Ikeda, J. (1999). Hmong American food practices, customs, and holidays. Chicago: American Diabetes Association.


Jaber, L. A. (2003). Barriers and strategies for research in Arab Americans. Diabetes Care, 26(2), 514-515.


Jaber, L. A., Brown, M. B., Hammad, A., Zhu, Q., & Herman, W. H. (2003). Lack of acculturation is a risk factor for diabetes in Arab immigrants in the U.S. Diabetes Care, 26(7), 2010-2014.

Jack, L. (2007). AADE position statement: Cultural sensitivity and diabetes education: Recommendations for diabetes educators. The Diabetes Educator, 33(1), 41-44.
Jack, L., Jr., Satterfiled, D., Airhihenbuwa, C.O., Owens, M., & Lester, A. (2000). Cultural sensitivity: definition, application, and recommendations for diabetes educators. Diabetes Educator, 26(6), 280-289.

Jezewski, M.A., & Poss, J. (2002). Mexican Americans' explanatory model of type 2 diabetes. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 24(8), 840-58.

Kart, C.S., Kinney, J.M., Subedi, J., Basnyat, K.B., & Vadakkan, M.F. (2007). Lay explanations and self-management of diabetes in Kathmandu, Nepal. Journal of Aging and Health, 19(4), 683-704.

Kittler P. G., & Sucher K. P. (1990). Diet counseling in a multicultural society. Diabetes Education, 16(2), 127-134.


Kozak, D. L. (1997). Surrendering to diabetes: An embodied response to perceptions of diabetes and death in the Gila River Indian Community. Omega- Journal of Death and Dying, 35(4), 347-359.


Kulkarni, K. D. (2004). Food, culture, and diabetes in the United States. Clinical Diabetes, 22(4), 190-192.


Lai, W. A., Lew-Ting, C. Y., & Chie, W. C. (2005). How diabetic patients think about and manage their illness in Taiwan. Diabetic Medicine, 22(3), 286-292.


Lang, G. C. (1989). "Making sense" about diabetes: Dakota narratives of illness. Medical Anthropology, 11(3), 305-327.


Lawton, J., et al. (2005). Perceptions and experiences of taking oral hypoglycaemic agents among people of Pakistani and Indian origin: Qualitative study. British Medical Journal, 330(7502), 1247-1250.

Lionis, C. (2008). Primary care diabetes in Greece. Primary Care Diabetes, 2(2), 97-99.

Lipton, R. B., Losey, L. M., et al. (1998). Attitudes and issues in treating Latino patients with type 2 diabetes: Views of healthcare providers. Diabetes Educator, 24(1), 67-71.


Meetoo, D., & Meetoo, L. (2005). Explanatory models of diabetes among Asian and Caucasian participants. British Journal of Nursing, 14(3), 154-159.


Middelkoop, B. J., & van der Wal, G. (2004). Culture-specific diabetes care for Surinam South Asians with a low socioeconomic position: Who benefits? Patient Education and Counseling, 53(3), 353-358.

Murphy, F., Satterfield, D., Anderson, R.M., & Lyons, A.E. (1993). Diabetes educators as cultural translations. Diabetes Educator, 19(2), 113-118.   

Naeem, A. G. (2003). The role of culture and religion in the management of diabetes: A study of Kashmiri men in Leeds. Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, 132(2), 110-116.

National Diabetes Education Program - NDEP & the Southeast Asian subcommittee of the Asian American/Pacific Islander Work Group. (2006). Silent Trauma: Diabetes, health status and the refugee.  Southeast Asians in the United States. (56 pages). Retrieved November 12, 2008 from

National Diabetes Education Program - NDEP. (2007). Take care of your heart: Manage your diabetes.  (2 pages). Retrieved July 9, 2008, from


National Diabetes Education Program - NDEP. (n.d.). Silent trauma: Diabetes, health status, and the refugee Southeast Asians in the United States. Issues and recommendations for approaches to reduce the burden of diabetes in this vulnerable population. (56 pages). Retrieved July 3, 2008, from


Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Washington. (2008). Online health library. This web page is divided into different sections and contains information on topics ranging from diabetes to the ailments of the eyes and nose. Retrieved July 3, 2008, from

Parker, J. G. (1994). The lived experience of Native Americans with diabetes within a transcultural nursing perspective. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 6(1), 5-11.

Peltzer, K., Khoza, L. B., Lekhuleni, M. E., Madu, S. N., Cherian, V. I., & Cherian, L. (2001). Concepts and treatment for diabetes among traditional and faith healers in the northern province, South Africa. Curationis, 24(2), 42-47.


Piccinin, D., Lai, K. (2002). Process and practice of cross cultural diabetes education teaching Vietnamese and Ethiopian Patients. Retrieved July 3, 2008, from


Pierce, M. & Armstrong, D. (1996). Afro-Caribbean lay beliefs about diabetes. In D. Kelleher & S. Hillier (Eds.), Researching cultural differences in health (pp. 91-102). London: Routledge.


Popoola, M. M. (2005). Living with diabetes: The holistic experiences of Nigerians and African Americans. Holistic Nursing Practice, 19(1), 10-16.


Poss, J., & Jezewski, M. A. (2002). The role and meaning of Susto in Mexican Americans' explanatory mode of Type 2 Diabetes. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 16(3), 360-377.


Quatromoni, P. A., Milbauer, M., Posner, B. M., Carballeira, N. P., et al. (1994). Use of focus groups to explore nutrition practices and health beliefs of urban Caribbean Latinos with diabetes. Diabetes Care, 17(8), 869-873.


Ramirez, A. G., Villarreal, R., & Chalela, P. (1999). Community level diabetes control in a Texas barrio: A case study. In R. M. Huff & M. V. Kline (Eds.), Promoting health in multicultural populations: A handbook for practitioners (pp. 169-187). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


Rankin, S. H., Galbraith, M. E., & Huang, P. (1997). Quality of life and social environment as reported by Chinese immigrants with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Educator, 23(2), 171-177.


Ratanasuwan, T., Indharapakdi, S., Promrerk, R., Komolviphat, T., & Thanamai, Y. (2005). Health belief model about diabetes mellitus in Thailand: The culture consensus analysis. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, 88(5), 623-631.


Reimann, J. O. F., Talavera, G. A., Salmon, M., Nunez, J. A., & Velasquez, R. J. (2004). Cultural competence among physicians treating Mexican Americans who have diabetes: A structural model. Social Science and Medicine, 59(11), 2195-2205.


Seyoum, B., Kiros, K., et al. (1999). Prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus in rural pregnant mothers in Northern Ethiopia. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 46(3), 247-251.


Sheikh, A., Gatrad, A. R. (2001). Caring for Muslim Patients. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press.


Skelly, A. H., Dougherty, M., et al. (2006). African American beliefs about diabetes. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 28(1), 9-29.


Smith, S. L., & Tessaro, I. A. (2005). Cultural perspectives on diabetes in an Appalachian population. American Journal of Health Behavior, 29(4), 291-301.


Tailoring education for a lost Somali patient: goal was teaching diabetes control. (2003). Patient Education Management, 10(9), 101-102.


Tessaro, I., Smith, S. L., & Rye, S. (2005). Knowledge and perceptions of diabetes in an Appalachian population. Preventing Chronic Disease, 2(2), A13. (9 pages). Retrieved July 3, 2008, from

Upadhyay, D.K., Palaian, S., & Shankar, P.R. (n.d). Knowledge, attitude, and practice about diabetes among diabetes patients in Western Nepal. Retrieved December 18, 2008 from

Utah Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. (n.d.). Basic education on diabetes in Russian. (15 pages). Retrieved July 9, 2008, from


Valenzuela, G. A., Mata, J. E., Mata, A. S., Gabali, C., Gaona, E., et al. (2003). Knowledge and beliefs regarding type 2 diabetes mellitus in rural Mexico. Ethnicity and Health, 8(4), 353-360.


Vincent, D. (2006). Using focus groups to develop a culturally competent diabetes self-management program for Mexican-Americans. Diabetes Educator, 32(1), 89-97.

Wallin, A.M., Lofvander, M., & Ahlstrom, G. (2007). Diabetes: A cross-cultural interview study of immigrants from Somalia. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 16(11C), 305-314.

Wang, C., & Chan, S. M. A. (2005). Culturally tailored diabetes education program for Chinese Americans. Nursing Research, 54(5), 347-353.


Weller, S. C., Baer, R. D., Pachter, L. M., Trotter, R. T., Glazer, M., et al. (1999). Latino beliefs about diabetes. Diabetes Care, 22(5), 722-728.

Whittemore, R. (2007). Culturally competent interventions for Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 18(2), 157-166.  
Williams, J.H., Auslander, W.F., de Groot, M., Robinson, A.D., Houston, C., & Haire-Joshu, D. (2006). Cultural relevancy of a diabetes prevention nutrition program for African American women. Health Promotion Practice, 7(1), 56-67. 

Yee, B. W. K. (1997). Stroke, lung cancer, and diabetes health beliefs and lifestyle practices of Vietnamese elders: Implications for geriatric rehabilitation. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 13(2), 1-12.


Zaldivar, A., & Smolowitz, J. (1994). Perceptions of the importance placed on religion and folk medicine by non-Mexican-American Hispanic adults with diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 20(4), 303-306.

©Jacquelyn Coughlan, May 2009 ( citations)