Research buzz: UMBC tackling diabetes management among urban elderly

Description: The University of Maryland Baltimore County's Center for Aging Studies won a $1.4 million National Institutes of Health grant to explore the experiences of elderly, urban diabetes patients. The research will focus largely on how the patients care for themselves in their diet, exercise and treatment.

Researchers: J. Kevin Eckert, professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Sarah Chard, an assistant professor, are joint principal investigators.

Stage of research: The just-awarded grant lasts for three years. Eckert and Chard will perform qualitative ethnographic research, which means they will build case studies of individuals to learn more about broader issues in treatment and prevention of diabetes among older inner-city adults.

Implications: The results may be factored into future programs that educate people on diabetes risk and management, but in a more culturally sensitive and appropriate way, if necessary. Diabetes accounts for 20 percent of U.S. health care costs, according to the researchers, but Type 2 diabetes can be prevented and managed with healthy diet and exercise habits.

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