Researchers are assessing two study groups in New York state to identify the family and community factors that influence the prevention, treatment, and management of diabetes. One group is from an inner-city, predominantly African American community, and the other is from a five-county, predominantly white, rural community. Both groups are medically underserved. About 100 people with diabetes and 100 of their family members constitute each group. People with diabetes are completing surveys about their health status, medical treatment, self-care practices, and social supports. Family members are completing surveys that indicate their knowledge of diabetes, role in providing information and support to the person with diabetes, and their own preventive self-care practices.
Researchers are concurrently examining community resources and barriers that influence diabetes interventions. Resources include availability of healthy foods, safe and convenient environments for physical activity, and access to diabetes support groups and self-care education. Barriers include few, if any, low-cost ways to improve lifestyle and insufficient number of diabetes care centers and specialists. The results will guide researchers in designing a comprehensive diabetes prevention and control plan which will be pilot-tested in the two participating communities.