Educational programs may help disadvantaged people with diabetes manage blood sugar levels

Some people of low socioeconomic status fall victim to a pattern of misfortunes that impact their health and may result in diabetes.

For example, many individuals who struggle to earn enough money to feed their families cannot afford to buy pricey organic produce or products that are made with the highest quality ingredients.

It may be cheaper for poorer parents to provide their children with fast food meals than home-cooked lean protein, whole grains or vegetables. Therefore, these kids have a high risk of becoming obese and developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

However, healthy lifestyle advice provided by educational interventions may aid in diabetes management among low-income individuals, according to a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The investigators explained that information on diabetes treatment alone may not encourage people to change their daily behaviors.

"With this novel approach, we have found a way to give people the skills to solve problems in all areas of their lives so that they can take diabetes off the back burner and start caring for their health," said lead researcher Felicia Hill-Briggs.

Among study participants who received the intensive three-month intervention that addressed diabetes treatment, finances and socialization, the researchers found an average reduction in A1C levels of .7. The scientists said that A1C is used to evaluate the long-term effects of lifestyle changes on blood sugar levels. Subjects who participated in a significantly shorter adaptation of the same program did not experience any benefits, the study's findings indicated.

People who are under financial strain but want to eat healthy to aid in diabetes prevention may do so without increasing their grocery bills. For example, growing fruits and vegetables in a community garden is an economical way to ensure a balanced diet.