Use of Focus Groups to Inform a New Community-Based Youth Diabetes Prevention Program

Ngina McAlpin, Cordelia R. Elaiho, Farrah Khan, Cristina Cruceta, Crispin Goytia, Nita Vangeepuram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There have been few youth-led diabetes prevention programs. Our objective was to conduct focus groups to explore peer influences on adolescent lifestyle behaviors and strategies for implementing a youth peer education model for diabetes prevention. We conducted six focus groups with 52 youth (ages 13–22; 62% male, 38% female; 64% Hispanic, 36% non-Hispanic Black) from East Harlem, NYC. We used a Thematic Analysis approach to identify major themes, compared findings, and resolved differences through discussion and consensus. Three dominant themes arose: (1) Adolescents generally encounter more unhealthy peer influences on diet and more healthy peer influences on physical activity; (2) Adolescents endorse youth-led diabetes prevention strategies and describe ideal qualities for peer leaders and methods to support and evaluate leaders; (3) Adolescents prefer text messaging to monitor behaviors, track goals, and receive personalized guidance. Using study findings, our Community Action Board developed a peer-led diabetes prevention program for prediabetic adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9655
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • community-based
  • diabetes prevention
  • focus groups
  • mobile health technology
  • peer education
  • youth


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