Diabetes Prevention – Marshalltown, IA

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Project at a Glance

  • Issue Area Health equity, Racial equity and healing
  • Engagement Approaches Engaging non-English speakers, Engaging traditionally marginalized groups, Partnering with residents, Surveys and data
Project Description

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Engagement Approach(es): participant involved planning, survey, accessible space

In Marshalltown, Iowa, diabetes was affecting a significant portion of the population. Marshalltown was poorly equipped to provide preventive interventions, especially for the Latino population. Several community health assessments and inventories of wellness supports in the community pointed to the need to be more deliberate and targeted in making the wellness message relevant and compelling enough for the largest at-risk populations, the Latino community which had significantly higher rates of diabetes. With a mind to remedy this disparity, the YMCA-YWCA won a bid to become one of only 10 YMCAs in the United States in 2010 to pilot a new evidenced-based diabetes prevention program. This program, however, did not meet the needs of Spanish-speaking residents of Marshalltown. In 2012, a language-appropriate and culturally relevant Spanish version of the program was made available to demonstration sites.

With funding from a Community Transformation Grant, the Healthier Communities Coalition worked to make the program accessible for Latino residents. The Spanish-language program was offered free to persons with prediabetes of Latino heritage in the Marshalltown area. Two native Spanish-speaking local residents of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity were recruited as counselors and provided with training. The coalition partnered with Iowa Valley Continuing Education and Training Center (Training Center) to host classes. This site was chosen because it is a trusted popular venue for non-English speakers seeking a myriad of English language and vocational training classes. Concurrently, in another collaboration with a church across the street, free childcare for participants was arranged. Although the first Latino group dwindled to two participants, their success was contagious, and they helped recruit thirty-six participants for the second class. The success of the project was in large part to including the residents affected by diabetes in the planning and implementation stages. Total weight loss for all participants in the program has been 4.91 percent thus far, and physical activity time has increased.

For more information visit: https://www.ymca-ywca.org/healthy-living/health-well-being-fitness/diabetes-prevention

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