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Racial Differences Exist in the Health Behaviors of People Newly Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects non-Hispanic Blacks compared to non-Hispanic White populations. A 2021 study published in the journal Diabetes Care examined racial differences in psychological, behavioral, and physical health over time among individuals recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Behavioral and Blood Glucose Information for Three Prior Months and Dietary Information for Two Prior Weeks Were Collected 

Data was collected from a community sample of 193 male and female adults recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Women made up 44% of the study participants and 45% of the participants were Black. Measures of distress, self-care behaviors, and blood sugar levels for the previous 3 months were taken during an initial interview (time 1) and 6 months later (time 2). Individuals wore an Actical accelerometer to assess their physical activity. Study participants completed three 24-hour dietary recall interviews to assess their dietary intake within 2 weeks of the initial interview.

Racial Differences Were Found in Some Examined Areas

Non-Hispanic Black adults monitored blood glucose and performed foot examinations more frequently than non-Hispanic White adults. Even though both White men and Black women reported a decline in medication adherence over time, overall, non-Hispanic Black adults were less adherent to medication than non-Hispanic White adults. Black participants had a higher overall calorie consumption with greater protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol intake than White participants. Over 6 months, Black women showed the highest increase in depressive symptoms. There was a greater increase in regimen and physician distress among White than Black participants. 

Racial Differences Were Absent From Other Areas Examined

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No racial differences were observed in diet or exercise adherence and there were no racial differences in changes in physical activity across six months. Additionally, there were no racial or sex differences in changes in glycemic stability.

This study concluded that the initial adjustment to diabetes type 2 diagnosis differs for Black and White men and women regarding depressive symptoms, diabetes distress, and self-care.


Helgeson, V. S., Naqvi, J. B., Korytkowski, M. T., & Gary-Webb, T. L. (2021). A Closer Look at Racial Differences in Diabetes Outcomes Among a Community Sample: Diabetes Distress, Self-care, and HbA(1c). Diabetes Care, 44(11), 2487-2492. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc21-0734

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