The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Indian Health Service Diet therapy for minority diabetic patients must be directed to NIDDM, the most prominent form of diabetes in minority populations. Diet programs must be tailored to the cultural framework, and traditional foods with desirable characteristics can be encouraged. To teach patients about diet, educators must use educational techniques appropriate to culture and literacy of the patient and family. Single-concept messages such as “eat less fat” or “eat less food” promote learning and minimize failure. Nutrition information can be divided into sequenced manageable steps that can then be individualized to the patient's setting. No single set of exchange lists will suffice for all minority groups, nor are exchange lists themselves appropriate for all situations. To meet the needs of minority patients, nutrition educators must use a variety of tools and techniques relating to the foods of a particular ethnic group. Sound education strategies and simplified materials for NIDDM patients should also be employed.

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