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Development of an integrated diabetes prevention program with First Nations in Canada

Type 2 Diabetes mellitus is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among First Nations in Canada. We used multiple research methods to develop an integrated multi-institutional diabetes prevention program based on the successful Sandy Lake Health and Diabetes Project and Apache Healthy Stores program. In depth interviews, a structured survey, demonstrated and feedback sessions, group activities, and meetings with key stakeholders were used to generate knowledge about the needs and resources for each community and to obtain feedback on SLHDP interventions. First Nations communities are eager to address increasing epidemic of diabetes. Educating children through a school prevention program was the most popular proposed intervention. Remote communities had poorer access to healthy foods and more on reserve media and services than the smaller semi-remote reserves. While the reserves shared similar risk factors for diabetes, variations in health beliefs and attitudes and environmental conditions required tailoring of programs to each reserve. It is necessary to balance community input with proven health promotion strategies. This study demonstrates the importance of formative research in developing integrated health promotion programs for multiple communities based on previously evaluated studies.


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Citation / Reference: 
Ho, L.S., Gittelsohn, S.B., Harris and E. Ford. (2006) in Health Promotion International Journal. Vol. 21 No. 2. Oxford University Press.