Background: Lifestyle intervention is effective in preventing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The efficacy of intervention components across different sociocultural settings is relevant for real world implementation. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a culturally tailored diabetes prevention program (CTDPP) for at-risk Muslim people in Thailand.

Method: The CTDPP was developed and culturally adapted based on formative research. Participants at risk for diabetes were recruited and randomly assigned to either the intervention group (n=60) or the control group (n=59). Study group subjects participated in the CTDPP for 3 months. Control group subjects received only routine self-care recommendations for preventing diabetes. All participants were assessed for diabetes prevention knowledge and health outcomes at baseline and follow-up.

Results: At the 12th week, the intervention group and control group showed that diabetes prevention knowledge improved from baseline (p < 0.05). The score for knowledge was significantly higher in the intervention group than in control group. Other health outcomes demonstrated significant within-group improvements only in the intervention group, but not in the control group. Changes in participants’ HbA1c levels were not significant for within-group and between-group comparisons at baseline and 12 weeks. Adjusting for covariates at baseline, our ANCOVA analysis showed that differences in weight, body mass index, and waist circumference between the intervention and control groups were significant (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: This diabetes prevention program integrating Thai-Muslim culture and driven by community health leaders was successful. Our program empowered at-risk people with diabetes prevention knowledge.

Keywords: Muslims people, Community health leaders, Diabetes prevention program, Thailand