Migration, Health Care Behaviors, and Primary Care for Rural Latinos with Diabetes


Many US Latinos migrate or travel between the US and Mexico on a regular basis, defined as circular migration. Latinos with diabetes (n = 250) were surveyed about circular migration and their ability to use medications and perform recommended diabetes self-care activities. A review of medical charts was performed. Twenty-eight percent (n = 70) of patients traveled to Mexico during the last 12 months. Older Latinos were more likely to report traveling to Mexico and back into the US. Among those that traveled, 29 % reported use of less medication than they wanted to or were prescribed because of travel and 20 % ran out of medications. The rate of reported problem areas while traveling were 39 % (27/70) for following a diabetic diet, 31 % (21/70) for taking medication, and 37 % (26/70) for glucose self-monitoring. The results suggest that the structure of primary care and care coordination are important for this population to fully engage in diabetes self-care.

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Financial Support

Dr. Moreno received support from an NIA (K23 AG042961-01) Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award, the American Federation for Aging Research. Drs. Moreno and Mangione received support from the UCLA Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research Center for Health Improvement of Minority Elderly (RCMAR/CHIME) under NIH/NIA Grant P30-AG021684, and the content does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIA or the NIH. Dr. Mangione received support from the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute through the NIH/National Center for Advancing Translational Science Grant Number UL1TR000124 and Barbara A. Levey & Gerald S. Levey Endowed Chair.

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Correspondence to Gerardo Moreno.

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Moreno, G., Morales, L.S., Batts, F. et al. Migration, Health Care Behaviors, and Primary Care for Rural Latinos with Diabetes. J Immigrant Minority Health 18, 1247–1252 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-015-0254-5

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  • Latinos
  • Diabetes
  • Migration
  • Bi-national healthcare