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Sharmini Balakrishnan
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Exploring Culture in Nutrition Care Interventions for the South Asian Diaspora: A Narrative Review
Names, Organizational Affiliations, and Locations of all Authors
S. Balakrishnan1, C. Benea1, A. Banerjee1,2, A. Mahajan3 1Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, 2School of Population & Global Health, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, 3Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario
The South Asian (SA) diaspora in Canada experiences a greater burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to the general population. Current nutrition interventions focus on individual diet and behavioural changes for the prevention and treatment of these chronic diseases. However, more attention must be given to the social determinants of health. Moreover, there is currently limited research on socio-cultural factors impacting nutrition care for diabetes and CVD in this population.
Objective(s)/Process or Summary of Content
To explore socio-cultural factors in nutrition care for the SA diaspora living with diabetes and CVD in Canada, and to propose equity-based recommendations for dietitians working with this population group.
Method(s)/Systemic Approach Used
A narrative review was conducted and a total of 15 articles were included in the final review. Key socio-cultural factors identified in each article were organized into the Social Ecological Model (SEM).
The following socio-cultural factors in each level of the SEM emerged, including (1) Intrapersonal: language, cultural foods, health perspectives; (2) Interpersonal: family and friends; (3) Community: peers and community leaders; (4) Institution: faith-based locations and workplace; (5) Policy: transportation, childcare, income, and discrimination and inequitable care.
The main socio-cultural factors identified in this review reflect dietitians’ cultural awareness, sensitivity, and competence when providing nutrition care to the SA diaspora. However, improving nutrition care requires dietitians to move beyond these aspects to cultural safety and humility. It is imperative dietitians engage in reflexive practice to address their own biases and assumptions to provide inclusive and equitable care in the context of the social determinants of health.
Significance to Dietetics
The findings urge dietitians to implement strategies that consider cultural safety and humility when providing nutrition care to the SA diaspora in Canada.
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