Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/18/2009
Publication Date: 10/19/2009
Citation: Chester, D.N., Weatherpoon, L., Kidd, T. 2009. African American Food Practices. In: Goody, C.M., Drago, L. Cultural Food Practices/Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Group. Chicago, IL. American Dietetic Association. p. 28-41. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: In addition to the early diagnosis of diabetes, disease management is important for control and subsequently prevention of complications arising from poorly controlled diabetes in all individuals. An important and effective aspect of treating diabetes is providing culturally relevant self-management education tailored for the targeted population (Brown, et al., 2002). Dietary management is an integral component of diabetes care. Counseling clients with diabetes requires a patient/client-centered approach which takes into consideration the complex interplay of beliefs, assumptions, values, expectations, and social and political forces that shape the cultural milieu and have a significant impact on efficacy of goal achievement. There is no doubt that food selection in humans is intricately related with many aspects of culture as well as several other factors including food availability, environmental factors, cost, social and religious sanctions and taboos, palatability, and perceived health benefits. Ethnic food choices symbolize identification with an important aspect of one’s heritage, and this is most certainly an important aspect of the lifestyle of African Americans. Grouped together, African Americans are not one “culture”, but rather a blend of several cultures, which may include West Indian, African, Southern American, and/or European influences. Diabetes has spiraled in this population group, concomitantly with obesity, and these two diet-related diseases warrant special consideration of dietary intake from a risk as well as management perspective.