Category 1 Winner Deepa Kariyawasam

Ethnic specific low potassium resources for the multicultural population

Those from minority ethnic groups are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. For example African Americans are 3.5 times more likely to develop CKD. Given the number of people from minority ethnic groups in late stages of CKD, it is important that dietary resources meet the needs of these groups.

Food has a nutritive and cultural significance and it is important that people with kidney disease are provided information on how to include foods that they have grown up consuming. When going through the changes and upheaval a new kidney diagnosis brings, it is important that too many changes are not made to their usual lifestyle and dietary habits.

Hyperkalaemia has life threatening health risks and can necessitate admission to hospital and possible emergency dialysis. A low potassium diet is thus followed by many dialysis patients.

Currently dietary resources aimed at those with CKD tend not to contain many migrant foods as the foods are not available on food databases such as USDA food database. Even with the availability of the internet, it is difficult to find ready to use low potassium diet resources with a strong focus on African, Caribbean, Far Eastern, South Asian or Eastern European foods.

Given the lack of resources for the migrant and ethnic minority population, we developed a set of 4 comprehensive diet resources of 4 x 16 pages focussing on a low potassium diet. These resources were for the following communities:

  • African Caribbean
  • South Asian
  • Far Eastern
  • Eastern Europeans

These diet resources were produced by obtaining food composition data from across the world. Patients helped state which foods should be included in the resources. 74% of patients who used the diet resources felt they learnt something new. These diet resources are free to patients across the UK via their renal nutrition group dietitian. As part of this project we have also run a training session at UK's largest renal conference to a multiprofessional audience and are in the process of running a whole day workshop to renal dietitians so that they have a better understanding of cultural diets and how to tailor CKD diet advice to these groups.