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Cultural Adaptation of Diabetes Prevention Program Continues

SNAP-Ed Educator Nimo Yusuf.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education
(SNAP-Ed) makes the healthy choice the easy choice
for Minnesotans with limited financial resources.
Southwest Minnesota is home to diverse food cultures, lifestyles, and family traditions. This year, two Southwest Minnesota communities and University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition staff are working together to ensure that a promising program is adapted for the food and lifestyle of Somali populations.

Eighteen members of the Somali community gathered at Jefferson Learning Center in Willmar on August 30, 2015 to talk with Health and Nutrition staff about ways to prevent diabetes in their community. Nutrition educators Abdulahi Dohe and Nimo Yusuf, along with cultural guides hired from the Willmar community, led two focus groups in the first phase of culturally adapting the I CAN Prevent Diabetes (ICANPD) program.

Somali community members shared ideas that were incorporated into a culturally-adapted ICANPD program, which is being offered in Willmar starting February 2016. ICANPD is a national program designed for people with prediabetes to help them make lifestyle changes to prevent the disease.

Input from the focus group participants and ongoing work with two cultural guides has resulted in a number of ways in which the program can be made more appropriate for Somali community members. Some adaptations are related to delivery of the course, such as adapting information about preventing diabetes into audio formats. Other adaptations are related to family and community, such as hosting additional community conversations about the issue of diabetes. Still other adaptations relate to daily practices and belief systems about health, disease, food, and physical activity.

One goal of the cultural adaptation project is to increase the effectiveness of ICANPD among Somali participants by making it as culturally relevant as possible. Other goals are to learn from the Somali community and to better understand the process of cultural adaptation. The project is supported by University of Minnesota Extension, SNAP-Ed, and the Minnesota Department of Health.
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