Accepted paper:

Diabetes prevention: the role of Anthropology


Tania Porqueddu (Self employed )

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the complex interrelation between migration and diabetes among Indian and Pakistani migrants. In particular, explores Indians' and Pakistanis' experiences of diabetes control including perceptions of diabetes causation, as well as barriers and facilitators for diabetes diet adherence and on oral medication intake. The paper aims to add to the current limited body of knowledge which looks at South Asians’ perceptions and attitudes of type 2 diabetes, particularly towards diseases control and prevention. In particular, it aims to contribute to further understanding 'cultural' factors responsible for poor adherence to lifestyle advice and medication, and determinants of dietary behaviour as well as factors that might influence behaviour modification among such minority ethnic group.

Paper long abstract:

Indian and Pakistani migrants in the UK are up to six times more luckily to suffer from diabetes. Strategies for type 2 diabetes prevention however, often fail to encompass the social and cultural aspects within which the disease is lived, particularly among minority ethnic groups. Based on findings from a sixteen-month ethnographic fieldwork, this paper describes the role that distress around migration plays within Indians' and Pakistanis' diabetes onset. Beside issues around migration and settling, difficulties around diabetes were considered as increasing stress levels, particularly in relation to diabetes diet adherence. Diabetes diet was perceived as a threat to food habits which respondents employed to ensure culture continuity and identity. Migrants also employed alternative means for diabetes control, which they were reluctant to share with medical practitioners. Based on such findings, this paper highlights a growing need for anthropology and its methods to better inform public health strategies and diabetes prevention programs.

panel LD06
Anthropologies in and of public health in the 21st century