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Use of Home Remedies Not Solely Due to Location, Money

High use among blacks, Native Americans may also be explained by cultural differences

FRIDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly diabetic patients who are black or Native American are more likely than whites to use home remedies, and the difference is only partially explained by social inequalities, according to a report in the January/February issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.

Joseph G. Grzywacz, Ph.D., of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues interviewed 701 black, Native American and white rural adults aged 65 years or older who had been diagnosed with diabetes. Subjects were asked about their use of food remedies and other remedies, such as ointments or plant extracts, for health purposes in the past year.

A majority of respondents reported using one or more home remedies for health reasons in the previous year. Black elders were nearly three times more likely than whites to use home remedies, and Native American elders were nearly twice as likely as whites to use such remedies. While those living in the country and those with lower incomes also had greater odds of using home remedies, the tendency toward home remedies was only partially explained by residential location and discretionary money.

"The persistence of ethnic differences in home remedies... suggest that cultural explanations likely hold more promise for explaining ethnic differences in home remedy use among older adults," the authors write.


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