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Response to diagnosis of pre-diabetes in socioeconomically deprived areas: a qualitative study

Twohig, Helen; Hodges, Victoria; Hobbis, Chloe; Mitchell, Caroline

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Victoria Hodges

Chloe Hobbis

Caroline Mitchell


Diabetes prevention is a key priority for the NHS, with a particular focus on populations at highest risk. The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) has been introduced, offering a course of dietary and lifestyle education to individuals with pre-diabetes. However, concerns about the NHS DPP include: (1) the possible unintended consequences of labelling more people with a ‘pre-condition’; (2) the possibility of worsening health inequalities as people in socioeconomically deprived areas tend to access behaviour-change programmes less readily; (3) the appropriateness of an intervention focused on individuals versus population-wide public health policy interventions.

To explore the experience of diagnosis of pre-diabetes, and understand the barriers and facilitators to uptake of the NHS DPP for people living in socioeconomically deprived areas.

Design & setting
A qualitative study was undertaken. Participants with pre-diabetes were recruited from practices serving socioeconomically deprived areas of Sheffield, UK.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted and continued until data saturation (23 participants). Thematic analysis of data was undertaken.

Both healthcare context and an individual’s personal and community context shaped response to diagnosis and likelihood of engaging with the NHS DPP. Patient activation was a useful concept in understanding response. Whether or not people participated in the NHS DPP, being diagnosed with pre-diabetes tended to provoke some degree of dietary change and did not cause significant anxiety for most. However, there were multiple barriers to engaging with the NHS DPP for this patient group.

Diagnosing pre-diabetes can provoke an individual positive response, but the sociocultural environment often limits an individual’s ability to engage with the NHS DPP or make lifestyle change.


Twohig, H., Hodges, V., Hobbis, C., & Mitchell, C. (2019). Response to diagnosis of pre-diabetes in socioeconomically deprived areas: a qualitative study. British Journal of General Practice Open (BJGP Open), 3(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 15, 2019
Online Publication Date Sep 3, 2019
Publication Date 2019-10
Journal BJGP Open
Print ISSN 2398-3795
Publisher Royal College of General Practitioners
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 3
Keywords general practice, diabetes mellitus, pre-diabetes, socioeconomic deprivation, behaviour, change, life style
Publisher URL


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