Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

Human Nutrition

Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Simone Camel

Committee Member

Monique Constance-Huggins

Committee Member

Frank Pullano


Diabetes, Empowerment, African American, Diet Quality, HEI, DES-28


Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a disease affecting individuals in epidemic proportions. Approximately 29.1 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and 13.2% of African Americans have type II diabetes and bear the undue burden of chronic diabetes complications ("Statistics About Diabetes," 2014). The purpose of this study was to determine if patient empowerment was related to diet quality and glycemic control in Southern African Americans with type II diabetes in South Carolina. A convenience sample of 35 adults receiving treatment at Sumter Medical Specialists, PA, located in Sumter, SC was obtained. Baseline empowerment, prior to diabetes self-management was measured through the Diabetes Empowerment Scale-28, diet quality was scored with the Healthy Eating Index, and glycemic control was measured by hemoglobin A1C levels. Partcipants in this study were predominatly female, had a family history of type II diabetes, had completed a high school education or less, and were on a combination of oral hypoglycemic agents and insulin therapies. Pearson’s Correlations indicated a positive, significant relationship between diabetes empowerment and diet quality. However, no relationship was found between diabetes empowerment and glycemic control in this sample. No research to date has been published using the Healthy Eating Index with this group. The Healthy Eating Index scores revealed that diet quality in Southern African Americans with T2DM is low, and that areas of lowest diet quality in this sample are those most commonly associated with poor glycemic control. Future research should explore the effect of empowerment strategies as a part of an intervention on glycemic control and diet quality. Additional research is needed to validate the Diabetes Empowerment Scale-28 in this subgroup of Southern African Americans.