Dietary knowledge and practices of diabetes mellitus patients at the Polokwane municipality clinics, Limpopo province, South Africa

12 Nov 2015

Dietary management is considered to be the cornerstone of glycaemic control in diabetes mellitus patients. A qualitative study applying the exploratory, descriptive and contextual design was conducted at two clinics in the Polokwane municipality in Limpopo province. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the dietary knowledge and practices of diabetic mellitus patients. Purposive and convenience sampling was used to select diabetic patients who have been receiving insulin treatment at the clinic for a year. Face-to-face interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide to collect data. Data saturation was reached after interviewing fifteen patients. Data were analysed using Tech’s open coding methods. The following theme and sub-themes emerged: Relevant food for diabetics, challenges experienced by diabetic patients regarding compliance with diet and preparation of meals by family members. It is recommended that educational programmes for the patient and family members regarding diet be intensified, giving reasons why certain foods should be consumed, advising on alternative cheaper fruits and vegetables during different seasons, the emphasis of not skipping meals and the involvement of family members as they care for the diabetic patients.