AbstractLifestyle interventions involving exercise and diet can reduce the progression of type 2 diabetes, yet these interventions are often short-lived due to expenses and difficulty with sustainability. Progressing toward self-management and behaviour change maintenance is also challenging after intervention completion. If ongoing supports are in place to support individuals with the long-term behaviour change process beyond the immediate intervention, individuals are more likely to be successful on their journey. Small Steps for Big Changes is a 3-week counselling program housed within a community setting that aims to help people make exercise and diet lifestyle changes. Therefore, to understand how to best support participants beyond the duration of the program, a knowledge sharing event was held for 14 women who completed the intervention 1 year previously. The women engaged in one focus group (audio-recorded, lasting 85 min) to discuss challenges experienced throughout their behaviour change journey and recommendations for continued support. A thematic analysis was conducted and three recommendation areas were identified: (a) establishing support networks with peers (mentorship pairing, social media groups, walking groups, monthly meetings); (b) continuing support from trainers (drop-in hours, advisory groups); and (c) creating platforms to communicate prediabetes-related information (newsletter, pamphlets). Recommendations have been implemented into the community to support these women, and other individuals, throughout and beyond the 3-week program throughout and their behaviour change journeys. This research provides insight as to supports that can be utilized to improve the effectiveness of a community-housed intervention beyond immediate delivery.
Acknowledgments: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research