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Learning From Listening: Common Concerns and Perceptions About Diabetes Prevention Among Diverse American Populations

Satterfield, Dawn W.; Lofton, Teresa; May, Jeannette E.; Bowman, Barbara A.; Alfaro-Correa, Ana; Benjamin, Christopher; Stankus, Melissa

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: November 2003 - Volume 9 - Issue - p S56–S63
Commentary

Recent research findings confirming the feasibility and effectiveness of interventions to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes are of keen interest to many stakeholders, including communities from which diabetes exacts a heavy toll. To inform communication and program planners at national and local levels, the Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, turned to people and communities affected by diabetes for their views about diabetes prevention. We review the key themes that emerged across diverse populations and some examples of subthemes relevant to particular groups. Adults at risk for type 2 diabetes and community leaders from five racial and ethnic groups participated in 27 focus groups from five geographic locations across the country. We explored participant's knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about diabetes and factors that would enable or impede lifestyle interventions at individual and community levels. Multiple analysts categorized responses using the qualitative technique of constant comparison. Many themes, some cutting across groups and some unique to specific groups, emerged about the negative effect of modern lifestyles on the health of adults and children. But positive findings about diabetes prevention generated hope that diabetes was not inevitable. All the focus groups noted that interventions were difficult to initiate and maintain and that social support, modeling stories, and community connections were needed. Listening to community members identified common and group-specific themes. These findings can inform health promotion messages and support adaptive community interventions for diabetes prevention.

Dawn W. Satterfield, RN, PhD, CDE, is a Health Education Specialist in the Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Teresa Lofton, PhD, MPH, is a Senior Scientist, Westat, Atlanta, Georgia.

Jeannette E. May, MPH, is a Program Development Officer in the Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Barbara A. Bowman, PhD, is the Associate Director for Policy Studies in the Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Ana Alfaro-Correa, ScD, MA, is a Program Development Officer in the Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Christopher Benjamin, JD, is a Program Development Officer, Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Melissa Stankus, MPH, is a Program Development Officer, Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Corresponding author: Dawn W. Satterfield, RN, PhD, CDE, Health Education Specialist, Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, Atlanta, GA 30341–3717 (e-mail: LSatterfield@cdc.gov).

The authors thank, foremost, all of the participants of the focus groups for their open-hearted efforts to contribute to an understanding of perspectives about diabetes prevention. We appreciate the contributions to the conceptual design of this project made by Dr. Timothy Edgar, Dr. Jeffrey Toward, and Faye Wong. Others who gave invaluable assistance to this project were Wendy Childs, Lorelei DeCora, Yvonne deWright, Gale Marshall, and Ericka Reed.

This effort was funded through contract #200-1999-0020/0012 with Westat, Rockville, Maryland.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.