Food habits are related to glycemic control among people with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Margaret R. Savoca, Carla K. Miller, David A. Ludwig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective To investigate the food habits of people with type 2 diabetes and to identify those habits related to glycemic control. Design The purposive sampling plan targeted people (40 to 65 years old) living in two urban communities in the Southeastern United States with type 2 diabetes for >1 year (60% women, 50% African Americans and low-income individuals). In-depth interviews were used to identify food habits. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA 1c) was measured to assess glycemic control. Subjects The final sample contained 89 participants (62% women, 48% African American, and 43% below 200% of the poverty level). Statistical analyses performed Analysis of variance, principal component/factor analysis, cluster analysis, and multiple regression were used to relate food habits to glycemic control. Results A four-factor solution derived from 15 food habits explained 51.5% of the total variance in HbA 1c values. High factor scores for three factors (Basic Eating Practices, Meal Planning, and Carbohydrate/Vegetable Strategies) and low factor scores for a fourth factor (Challenges of Dining Out) were related to lower HbA 1c values. Based on similar patterns across the 15 food habits, participants were clustered into four groupings. The clusters differing on HbA 1c (mean±standard deviation) were Healthful Eating Lifestyle (6.25±0.25), Disciplined Eating Approach (7.31±0.35), Limited Dietary Focus (8.28±0.33), and Poor Dietary Management (9.05±0.24). These groupings reflected different food habit factor profiles. Conclusions Knowledge of the specific food habits of people with diabetes can offer a way to structure a meaningful dialog with clients about dietary self-management and guide the collaborative development of relevant dietary goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-566
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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