AN EXPLORATION OF NUTRITION INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES
Introduction. Provision of information about nutrition is a key aspect of diabetes management and is available from healthcare professionals (HCPs), as well as via other sources such as on food labels, the media and internet. The aim of this research is to explore nutrition information accessed and used by people with type 2 diabetes and their partners/carers. Methods The research utilized a qualitative approach involving the use of unstructured solicited diaries followed by qualitative interviews with people who have type 2 diabetes. Diaries recording nutrition information accessed were kept for one month and were followed up by qualitative interviews exploring the diary entries and experiences of nutrition information in general. Thematic analysis supported by qualitative data analysis software was used. Ethics approval was obtained from the University of Hertfordshire. Results Nineteen people with type 2 diabetes (six men and 13 women) and one partner (one woman) with an age range of 53 to 77 years and length of time since diagnosis ranging from 0.5 -23 years were recruited from diabetes support groups in the East of England resulting in nineteen diaries and interviews. Food labels as sources of information were recorded and discussed most frequently. HCPs were only referred to in terms of their absence from the nutrition education process. Themes included ‘food labels are confusing’ and ‘there is a lot of information out there’. Phrases such as a ‘wilderness of information’ and being ‘left to get on with it’ were used by participants to contextualise their experiences. Conclusions, discussion and/or practical application Education of people with type 2 diabetes should include a greater focus on the interpretation of food labels and their application to diabetes. Efforts should be made to ensure that all people with type 2 diabetes have access to HCPs who are able to provide them with nutrition information.