Published In

BMC Public Health

Document Type


Publication Date



Diabetes, Diabetes -- Treatment, Behavior modification, Blood sugar monitoring


Background American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) are disproportionately affected by adolescent obesity, adolescent pregnancy and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). GDM is associated with increased risk for perinatal death, obesity, and subsequent type 2 diabetes (T2D) for the offspring. Moreover, mothers with GDM are also at increased risk for T2D post-partum. Yet few lifestyle interventions exist to reduce GDM risk prior to pregnancy. We describe the process of adapting an existing validated preconception counseling intervention for AI/AN adolescent girls at-risk for GDM and their mothers. Perspectives and recommendations were gathered from a diverse array of stakeholders to assure the new program called Stopping GDM was culturally responsive and developed with tribal voices and perspectives represented. Methods We conducted focus groups and individual interviews with multiple AI/AN stakeholders (n = 55). Focus groups and interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a thematic content approach to construct cross-cutting themes across the focus groups and interviews. Results Four key themes emerged reflecting issues important to planning a reproductive health intervention: 1) Limited awareness, knowledge, and health education resources about GDM; 2) The importance of acknowledging traditional AI/AN values and the diversity of traditions and culture among AI/AN tribes; 3) The need to cultivate healthy decision-making skills and empower girls to make safe and healthy choices; and 4) Lack of communication about reproductive health between AI/AN mothers and daughters and between AI/AN women and health care professionals. Conclusion Findings have been used to inform the cultural tailoring and adaptation of an existing preconception counseling program, originally designed for non-AI/AN adolescent girls with diabetes, for AI/AN adolescents at-risk for GDM in future pregnancies.


Copyright (c) 2023 The Authors

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



Persistent Identifier