Making dietary changes following a diagnosis of prediabetes: A qualitative exploration of barriers and facilitators

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Diabetic Medicine


Diabetes UK


School of Nursing and Midwifery




Hawke’s Bay Medical Research Foundation (HBMRF)

New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD)


Abel, S., Whitehead, L. C., & Coppell, K. J. (2018). Making dietary changes following a diagnosis of prediabetes: A qualitative exploration of barriers and facilitators. Diabetic Medicine, 35(12), 1693-1699. Available here


Aim: To explore the experiences of people recently diagnosed with prediabetes and overweight or obese in making dietary changes following a six-month primary care nurse-delivered dietary intervention pilot.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants, purposefully selected to ensure a mix of ethnicity, gender and glycaemic outcome. Thematic analysis of interview data was undertaken.

Results: Participants described feeling shocked when they received the diagnosis of prediabetes. Three core themes, each containing subthemes, emerged: (i) supportive factors - determination not to develop diabetes, clear information and manageable strategies, and supportive relationships; (ii) barriers - lack of family support, financial constraints, social expectations around food, and chronic health issues; and (iii) overcoming challenges - growing and sharing food, using frozen vegetables and planning. Challenges related to cultural expectations around providing and partaking of food were more evident for indigenous Māori participants.

Conclusions: A diagnosis of prediabetes provides a window of opportunity for healthcare professionals to work with those diagnosed and their families to make healthful dietary changes. Dietary guidance is likely to be most effective when individuals’ life circumstances are taken into account. Clear information and supportive relationships to facilitate lifestyle change are extremely important. (Clinical Trials Registry No; ANZCTR ACTRN1261500080656).



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