Poster Presentation Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association Annual Scientific Meeting 2016

Sydney Samoan Community perspectives on the diabetes epidemic (#253)

Annalise T Vaovasa 1 , David Simmons 1 , Freya MacMillan 1 , Olataga Alofivae-Doorbinnia 1
  1. Western Sydney University, Doonside, NSW, Australia

Background: The Samoan community experiences some of the highest rates of diabetes, obesity and other related conditions. In this study we aim to assess the current attitudes of the community towards diabetes and its complications and to describe the potential for the prevention of diabetes and its complications from the perspective of leaders of the Samoan community associated with a western Sydney general practice.

Methods: Through one western Sydney general practice we identified 20 Samoan community leaders who provided their consent for their interview to be audio recorded and also completed an anonymous demographic questionnaire. Interviews were semi-structured and were conducted in a culturally sensitive manner by an interviewer of Samoan ethnicity. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed for the possibility on diabetes prevention and the potential avenues of culturally sensitive and effective diabetes prevention strategies towards the Samoan community.

Results: Overall consensus agreed that Diabetes was a problem within the community and intervention was possible, however opinions on the methods to diabetes prevention varied. Common themes presented by participants included church-based intervention, family-based intervention, education on diabetes awareness, incentives and peer support. Our study found that the community recognised the need for diabetes intervention with lack of awareness, perspectives of food and health, lack of peer support and financial issues as contributing factors to the growth of diabetes.

Conclusions: Our qualitative data suggests future research and development of intervention strategies towards individuals of the Samoan community. Our data identifies the unmet need of specific diabetes prevention strategies within this ethnic group and the community’s willingness to prevent the growth of this condition. A clearer understanding of the culture and the overall health status of Samoans in Australia should be a priority for further research.