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Latinos who worry about having enough food to eat, so called food insecurity, report having a poorer diet and exhibit worse glycemic control ,HbA1c, than tose who are not worried about having sufficient food to surivive, according to a study

These findings suggest that food insecurity should be a factor considered in overal diabetes management. Approx 24% of Latino household in US were food insecure in 2013, compared to 14% for Americans overall, according to US Dpt of Agriculture. A study 2012 published in the Journal of Diab Spectrum found that diabetes risk was 2,5% higher in households reporting food insecurity.

Reserachers at the Emory School of Med in Atlanta, US, decided to explore the impact of food insecurity on diabetes management after hearing from patients that they could not afford to buy healthy foods, such as vegetables.

To measure food insecurity, they asked whether patients had been worried about having enough food to eat at any point in the past 30 days.

They also developed a tool based on the plate method to assess the amount of vegetables patients were eating during their main meal each day; full plate, one-half, one-third of a plate, one-fourth of a plate or no vegetables.

Lastly, the Emory reseach team also measured and analyzed differences in HbA1c, a 3 month measure of glycemic control, of the food insecure and food secure patients.

They found that those patients who were food insecure had much higher HbA1c levels and fewer vegetables, according to Britt Rosberg, RDN, assistent director of the Emory Diabetes Education Training Academy, and these findings underscore the importance of the individualized diabetes management, and the need to take into account not only patients´socioeconomic status, but also food availability when discussing diabetes self-management. ”We should find new ways to help our food insecure patients to obtain nutritionally adequate food”

The study found that those who were food insecure have average HbA1c 90 mmol per mol compared with 20 mmol/mol lower for those who were food secure. It also shown that those who were food insecure ate fewer vegetables than those who were food secure. When looking at patients who consumed more than one-third plate of non-starchy vegetables at their meal, 62% were food secure compared to 38% who were food insecure.

Rotberg said that there were no significant difference in BMI between the groups, suggesting that both groups may consume comparable calories per the individual´s requirements, but with a difference in nutrient density potentially determing the difference in HbA1c

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