Background Our national Lupus support and education program is offered to people with lupus and their families in underserved Latino and African American communities. As part of our community service plan, we have collaborated with an affiliated urban medical center’s pediatric rheumatology department, and our internal dept. of public and patient education’s nutrition education program designed to provide culturally sensitive education to children and their families.
Objectives Health disparities (our targeted community is 71% Hispanic, with higher rates of obesity and lower SES than overall city rates) combined with increased risks (CVD, osteoporosis) related to SLE and its treatment indicate the need for sound nutritional practice. The goal of our needs assessment was to get a better understanding of teens and their parents’ nutritional choices, knowledge and values, along with potential barriers, to assess the efficacy of a further intervention.
Methods Written surveys were administered through telephone interviews (English/Spanish), with 48 questions (teens) and 55 questions (parents) of our lupus support program. The survey design incorporated assessment tools from the Dept. of Agriculture for a better understanding of the nutritional value, knowledge and practices of teens. The survey had 7 sections: demographics, home environment, food intake, knowledge of food pyramid/healthy diet/food labels, exercise, and interest in an educational intervention. Also, teen and parent focus groups were conducted for a more detailed understanding of survey results.
Results We contacted 90 teens and parents; 35 (11 parents: mean age 46 and 24 teens: mean age 17) completed the phone interview. 46% were Latino; 83% female. 60% reported household income < $30,000/yr. and 34% reported Spanish as the primary language spoken at home. Although 63%of parents and 42% of teens say “the things I eat and drink now are healthy so there is no reason for me to make changes” 82% of parents and 33% of teens eat at fast food places 1-3 times per week. Importantly, 55%of parents strongly disagree that what one eats or drinks can affect lupus, yet 100% of parents know of health conditions related to eating too much fat (i.e Obesity, CVD). Almost 40% of teens did not know of any health conditions related to insufficient calcium; one quarter of teens did not know of any health conditions related to eating too much salt. Although 88% of teens felt reading food labels is important, many teens in our focus group felt that price and taste were more important, and food labels were hard to understand. They also felt that their neighborhoods didn’t have a lot of “healthy” foods
Conclusions Our phone survey and focus group results indicated a desire for a nutritional intervention that parents and teens they would attend together.
These findings, revealing incongruities between conveying socially acceptable responses and actual behaviors, as well as gaps in knowledge and access, are the first step in informing the development of an educational intervention that meets our community’s needs.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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