Family support, diet, and exercise among older Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Educ. Nov-Dec 2004;30(6):980-93. doi: 10.1177/014572170403000619.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between diabetes-specific family support and other psychosocial factors with regard to diet and exercise self-care behavior among older Mexican Americans with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Adults aged 55 years and older who presented for care in a primary care clinic for type 2 diabetes (N=138) completed a survey to assess family support specific to diabetes, barriers to self-management, self-efficacy, and diabetes self-care activities. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted to evaluate the relationship between family support and self-care activities for diet and exercise.

Results: Higher levels of perceived family support and greater self-efficacy were associated with higher reported levels of diet and exercise self-care. As the barriers to exercise increased, the levels of exercise self-care decreased. Living with family members (more than just a spouse or significant other) was associated with higher levels of diet self-care, as was older age.

Conclusions: Family behavior is associated with diet and exercise self-care. Diabetes educators and healthcare providers should consider involving the entire family in the management of older patients with type 2 diabetes. Interventions designed to improve diabetes self-management should address family support specific to diabetes, self-efficacy, and barriers to self-care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / rehabilitation*
  • Diet, Diabetic*
  • Exercise*
  • Family*
  • Humans
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Self Care
  • Social Support*
  • United States