a1 Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA
a2 Cardiovascular Health Branch, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Mailstop K-47, Atlanta, GA 30341-3717, USA
a3 Division of Diabetes Translation, Atlanta, GA, USA
a4 Bemidji Area Indian Health Service, Bemidji, MN, USA
Objective: To examine differences in food habits among Native Americans with and without diabetes.
Design: A cross-sectional epidemiological study in which participants underwent a physical examination and answered an extensive interviewer-administered questionnaire to assess differences in food servings, preparation and eating habits.
Setting/participants: Participants aged ≥25 years were randomly selected from three reservations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. There were 990 persons without diabetes, 294 with a prior diagnosis of diabetes, and 80 with fasting glucose >125 mg dl−1 but no prior diabetes diagnosis.
Results: Persons with prior diabetes diagnosis were less likely than those without diabetes to report eating fast-food meals two or more times per week, eat visible fat on meat or the skin on poultry, eat fried chicken or fried fish, to add fat to cooked vegetables and drink whole milk. Persons with previously undiagnosed diabetes were more likely than previously diagnosed persons to report eating fast-food meals two or more times per week, eat visible fat on meat and the skin on poultry, drink whole milk and eat fried fish, but were less likely to drink low-fat milk. Previously undiagnosed persons were more likely than either diagnosed persons or persons without diabetes to consume lard from cooked foods and use it when cooking.
Conclusion: Persons with diagnosed diabetes showed healthier eating patterns than those without diabetes, while undiagnosed persons showed some less favourable patterns. Because virtually all persons with diabetes in these communities receive nutrition education, the results suggest that nutrition education programmes for diabetics may be associated with healthier eating patterns.
(Received January 15 2004)
(Accepted May 05 2004)