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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848


MUCHIRI, Jane W.; GERICKE, Gerda  and  RHEEDER, Paul. Elements of effective nutrition education for adults with diabetes mellitus in resource-poor settings: A review. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2009, vol.14, n.1, pp.156-164. ISSN 2071-9736.

This review article highlights the key factors that need consideration in planning an effective nutrition education programme for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus in resource-poor settings. Type 2 diabetes is increasing to epidemic levels globally. Low socio-economic status is associated with poorer health outcomes and a higher economic burden. Individuals with diabetes cite dietary adherence as the most difficult self-care area. Effective nutrition education achieves the desired goals and outcomes, which include appropriate change in dietary behaviour, improved glycaemic control, plasma lipid levels, blood pressure and body weight, as well as improved potential mediators (knowledge, skills and attitudes). Elements that contribute to a successful nutrition education programme include interventions tailored to the needs, abilities and socio-cultural context of the target group, the active involvement of the patient, a behaviour-focused approach based on appropriate theory, suitable delivery methods and individual/group approaches. Adequate contact time with an educator (> 10 hours), the educator's competence, provision of social support and follow-up intervention are also crucial. Effectively educating diabetic individuals from resource-poor settings in nutrition is a challenging task. It needs innovative and skilled educators who are sensitive to the unique needs of the target group and who use appropriate approaches to address these needs.

Keywords : type 2 diabetes; low-income; nutrition education; effectiveness; self-management education.

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