Transcultural diabetes nutrition therapy algorithm: The Asian Indian application

Shashank R. Joshi, V. Mohan, S. S. Joshi, Jeffrey I. Mechanick, Albert Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


India and other countries in Asia are experiencing rapidly escalating epidemics of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease. The dramatic rise in the prevalence of these illnesses has been attributed to rapid changes in demographic, socioeconomic, and nutritional factors. The rapid transition in dietary patterns in India - coupled with a sedentary lifestyle and specific socioeconomic pressures - has led to an increase in obesity and other diet-related noncommunicable diseases. Studies have shown that nutritional interventions significantly enhance metabolic control and weight loss. Current clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are not portable to diverse cultures, constraining the applicability of this type of practical educational instrument. Therefore, a transcultural Diabetes Nutrition Algorithm (tDNA) was developed and then customized per regional variations in India. The resultant Indiaspecific tDNA reflects differences in epidemiologic, physiologic, and nutritional aspects of disease, anthropometric cutoff points, and lifestyle interventions unique to this region of the world. Specific features of this transculturalization process for India include characteristics of a transitional economy with a persistently high poverty rate in a majority of people; higher percentage of body fat and lower muscle mass for a given body mass index; higher rate of sedentary lifestyle; elements of the thrifty phenotype; impact of festivals and holidays on adherence with clinic appointments; and the role of a systems or holistic approach to the problem that must involve politics, policy, and government. This Asian Indian tDNA promises to help guide physicians in the management of prediabetes and T2D in India in a more structured, systematic, and effective way compared with previous methods and currently available CPGs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-212
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Diabetes Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Asian Indians
  • Diabetes
  • Nutrition therapy


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