‘Diabetes Garage’ improves self-care behaviors, outcomes among Hispanic men
HOUSTON — Hispanic men with type 2 diabetes who attended a 4-week diabetes education pilot program developed around car culture, called Diabetes Garage, experienced modest improvements in weight, blood pressure and HbA1c, according to study data presented at the American Association of Diabetes Educators annual meeting.
“When I did diabetes education with men in southwest part of Texas, I used car analogies all the time, and I know a lot of health professionals do that,” Jeannie B. Concha, PhD, assistant professor of public health at the University of Texas at El Paso College of Health Sciences, told Endocrine Today. “I would say, ‘Do you have a car? Do you get the oil checked? Why?’ And you would see the lightbulb go off. Rather than doing that one-on-one, I wanted to create a program that integrated automotive repair analogies to get men to think about diabetes differently.”
Concha and colleagues worked with the El Paso Diabetes Association to tailor a national Diabetes Prevention Program around the idea of car culture, conducting focus groups with men with and without diabetes. In a pilot program, Concha and colleagues analyzed data from eight men with type 2 diabetes recruited from health fairs, clinics and car shows (11 men recruited; 10 men scheduled) who attended weekly classes in a garage setting in El Paso (mean age, 60 years; mean diabetes duration, 3.11 years; 64% married; 70% Hispanic). Classes used concepts of automotive maintenance or repair analogies to address healthy eating and physical activity. Men completed a pre-assessment at week 1 and a post-assessment at week 4.
“We know through research that men with diabetes are less likely to attend classes and visit a diabetes educator, and I felt we needed to close the gap,” Concha said in an interview. “A lot of the programs tend to be more female-centric, even though they are open to everyone. The American Diabetes Association recommends tailoring existing programs, and I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
At 4 weeks, mean body weight decreased from 217.58 lb to 212.67 lb, mean systolic BP fell from 145.4 mm Hg to 129.6 mm Hg, mean diastolic BP fell from 74.4 mm Hg to 67.4 mm Hg, and mean HbA1c decreased from 7.62% to 7.34%.
“I know that a decrease in HbA1c takes a while, and we were not expecting any movement on HbA1c,” Concha said. “That surprised me.”
Concha said she has secured funding to implement the program for 3 years.
“It is important for diabetes educators to know the history of their population,” Concha said. “Car culture may not be something that works in every state. The important message is to look at the ADA Standards of Care and adjust with a culturally tailored program to what your community assets are, and to think out of the box.” – by Regina Schaffer
Concha JB, et al. P412. Presented at: American Association of Diabetes Educators; Aug. 9-12, 2019; Houston.
Disclosure: Concha reports no relevant financial disclosures.