Tailoring lifestyle programmes for diabetes prevention for US South Asians

Fam Med Community Health. 2020 Apr 1;8(2):e000295. doi: 10.1136/fmch-2019-000295. eCollection 2020.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop and test the feasibility of a culturally tailored Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP) for US South Asians, a large population with high diabetes risk.

Design: The South Asian Health and Prevention Education (SHAPE) study included: (1) focus group discussions with South Asian adults to understand views of lifestyle behaviours and diabetes prevention; (2) modification of the US DPP for South Asians and (3) a pilot, pre-post study to test the feasibility and impact of delivering the culturally tailored programme.

Setting: The study was conducted in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Focus group discussions and intervention classes were held at locations within the community (eg, South Asian restaurants, a public library, university classrooms, a South Asian owned physical therapy studio).

Participants: The focus group discussions (n=17 with 109 individuals) included adults aged 25 years of older who self-identified as South Asian. Groups were stratified by age (25-40 years or older than 40 years) and sex. The SHAPE pilot study included 17 (76.5% male with a mean age of 46.9±12 years) South Asian adults aged 25 years or older with pre-diabetes and body mass index (BMI) >22 kg/m2.

Results: Formative data from 17 focus group discussions and a community board guided the modification of the DPP curriculum to reflect cultural food preferences and include tools to leverage social support, create a stronger foundation in exercise and overcome culturally specific barriers. The SHAPE pilot study included 17 South Asian adults with pre-diabetes and BMI >22 kg/m2. There were positive changes in participants' weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, plasma lipids, HbA1c and other cardiometabolic markers postintervention and 55% of participants regressed to normoglycaemia.

Conclusion: These results provide important information on the barriers faced by US South Asians in participating in 'standard' lifestyle change programs, indicate the feasibility of culturally tailored programmes and show positive impact of a culturally tailored programme for diabetes prevention in the South Asian population.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus, type 2; healthy lifestyle; mixed methods research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Asians*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pilot Projects