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Interventions involving exercise and diet can reduce the progression of Type 2 diabetes, yet they are often short-lived. Progressing toward self-managed maintenance is also challenging. If supports are in place to help individuals with behavior changes beyond immediate programming, they are more likely to maintain these changes. This is particularly the case for women, who often struggle to maintain diet and exercise changes and can benefit from social support. Small Steps for Big Changes is a 3-week counseling program housed in a local YMCA that aims to help people make exercise and diet changes. To understand how to best support women in maintaining these changes beyond program delivery, a knowledge-sharing event was held for 14 women who completed the intervention. The women engaged in a focus group to share challenges they had experienced in making diet and exercise changes and recommendations for continued support. Data were analyzed using a thematic analysis, and three recommendation areas were identified: (a) establishing peer support networks, (b) creating platforms to communicate prediabetes-related information, and (c) providing ongoing trainer support. Several recommendations have been implemented to support these women, and other individuals, postprogram. This case provides insights and recommendations for integration of initiatives beyond delivery of a behavior-change program housed in a community organization.
The authors are with the Faculty of Health and Social Development, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC, Canada.