Objective: Obesity and type 2 diabetes have emerged as critical health issues among Latino youth. Although both conditions manifest early in life, very few diabetes prevention programs have been developed to specifically meet the needs of this population. The authors describe the development, implementation, and metabolic impact of a culturally informed, community-based diabetes prevention program for obese Latino youth. Methods: A lifestyle education program was developed to address the health needs of Latino youth served by a community-based medical clinic. The program consisted of group education sessions delivered to children and their families to address nutrition, physical activity, family roles and responsibilities, and self-esteem. The metabolic impact of the program was evaluated by assessing body mass index (BMI), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and insulin. Results: On entry, the prevalence of risk factors among the 102 youth (mean BMI, 30.4 ± 4.9 kg/m2) was substantial (68.6% with low HDL cholesterol, 32.1% with elevated triglycerides, 9.4% with impaired fasting glucose, 39.4% with elevated total cholesterol, 43.0% with elevated LDL cholesterol, and 60.6% with hyperinsulinemia). The 50 youth who returned after the program for follow-up measurements exhibited significant health improvements, including a 3.8% reduction in BMI; 5.4% and 8.6% decreases in total and LDL cholesterol, respectively; a 9.3% increase in HDL cholesterol; and a 24.0% decrease in fasting insulin (all P values <.05). Conclusions: These promising findings suggest that a community-based diabetes prevention program for obese Latino youth is a feasible strategy for improving health in this high-risk population. Further studies are warranted to examine whether similar programs can be implemented in diverse communities and settings.
- community health
- health disparities
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Community and Home Care
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health