IS THERE ANY BENEFIT OF TRADITIONAL AFRICAN FAMILY SYSTEM AND VALUES IN DIETARY MANAGEMENT OF DIABETES IN A TERTIARY HEALTH INSTITUTION IN A SEMI URBAN SETTING, SOUTH WEST NIGERIA

Abstract

Globally, diabetes is becoming an important health problem and Africa has its own share of the increasing burden of the disease. Effective management of diabetes involves life style changes and dietary modification, compliance with the latter being a major challenge. This study was designed to know whether there could be any benefit of the traditional African family system and values in the dietary management of diabetes. A descriptive cross section study was carried out on consenting adult diabetic patients at the general outpatient department, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo between December 2007 and March 2008. A total of two hundred and eighty (280) patients gave their consent to participate in the study. Data was collected with the aid of an interviewer administered, semi-structured questionnaire. Analysis was done by the use of SPSS version 12. All the 280 questionnaire were analyzed. The mean age of the respondents was 56.60 ± 11.45yrs with a male to female ratio of 1.3:1. Among the reasons given for non-compliance with dietary modification include financial constraint, belief more in drugs, conflict with social life, eating from fast food outlets, conflict within family and unwillingness to disclose diabetic status to spouse. There is a significant association between the extent of family support and dietary compliance with the best compliance among those that were supported by both nuclear and extended family members. Achievement of success in the management of diabetic mellitus goes beyond the patient alone. It demands personal motivation towards life style pattern and strong support from family. Some of the reasons given for non-compliance are probably reflections of a change in our family values. The finding that people who enjoyed the traditional African extended family support complied most in this study also raises the question whether our traditional family system and values could be hidden asset in the dietary management of diabetes. It is recommended that family should be involved in the management of diabetes and our traditional African family system and values with the possible health benefit also need to be sustained

Keywords: Benefit, Management of Diabetes, Traditional African Family, Values


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