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Improving the Health Outcomes of Somali Women: A Collaborative Diabetes Prevention Project

Jane Mugambi


This article assesses whether a culturally tailored diabetes prevention intervention improved the knowledge and changed the perception on diabetes, healthy eating, and physical activity among a group of Somali women in Mankato, South-central Minnesota. Five Somali women participated in all phases of the project which included educational and group discussion meetings. A mixed methods approach was utilized with data collected using pretest/posttest surveys and content analysis of focus group discussion. The average score for pretest surveys was 4.01 (SD=0.8) and for posttest survey 4.08 (SD=1.1) showing a slight overall change in diabetes knowledge and attitudes. Key themes emerged from the group discussions including: inadequate diabetes knowledge and attitudes prior to the intervention, inadequate knowledge of the risks of diabetes, lack of knowledge about the impact of lifestyle, diet, and exercise on diabetes risk, barriers to a healthy lifestyle, the value of group support, the benefits of a culturally tailored program, identifying readiness for change and intent to share knowledge with family and the community. While the quantitative findings cannot demonstrate a statistically significant change due to a small sample size, the qualitative data and project results have implications for health care providers and the design of education program, particularly the role that culturally tailored interventions may play in improving the health outcomes of culturally diverse populations.


Type 2 Diabetes; Somali Women; Immigrants Health; Culturally Tailored Programs

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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