Impact of a Plant-Based Diet and Support on Mitigating Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Latinos Living in Medically Underserved Areas

Am J Health Promot. 2018 Mar;32(3):753-762. doi: 10.1177/0890117117706793. Epub 2017 May 14.


Purpose: To determine the impact that a high-fiber, low-fat diet, derived from mostly plant-based sources, when coupled with support has upon self-management of type 2 diabetes mellitus in Latinos from medically underserved areas (MUAs).

Design: Experimental randomized controlled community pilot study.

Setting: Three community clinics in MUAs located within San Bernardino County, California.

Participants: Thirty-two randomly assigned Latinos with A1C greater than 6.4: 15 control and 17 experimental.

Intervention: Participants completed a 5-week education program. Researchers provided follow-up support for 17 randomly assigned experimental group participants through focus groups held at participating clinics-1, 3, and 6 months posteducation.

Measures: Changes in fat and fiber consumption were measured using a modified Dietary Screener for Mexican Americans. Self-management was measured through the Self-Efficacy for Exercise Scale and Diabetes Quality of Life Measure.

Analysis: Baseline characteristics for both groups were analyzed using independent t tests and χ2 tests. A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to analyze biometric data between baseline and 6 months for both groups.

Results: Mean A1C levels decreased from baseline to 6 months for both groups: control, μ1 = 9.57, μ2 = 9.49; experimental, μ1 = 8.53, μ2 = 7.31.

Conclusion: The experimental group demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in mean A1C levels ( P = .002) when compared to the control group.

Keywords: Latinos; diabetes self-management education; focus groups; medically underserved population; plant-based diet; randomized controlled community trial; support groups; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • California
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Diet, Healthy / ethnology
  • Diet, Healthy / methods*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Health Behavior
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self-Management


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A