Transculturalizing Diabetes Prevention in Latin America

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Type 2 diabetes (T2D) imposes a heavy burden in developing countries, requiring effective primary prevention policies. Randomized clinical trials have identified successful strategies in T2D prevention. However, translating these results to real-life scenarios and adapting to ethnocultural differences is a major challenge. Transculturalization allows incorporating cultural factors to diabetes prevention strategies to optimize implementation of clinical trials results. The purpose of this paper is to review the transcultural adaptations developed for T2D prevention in Latin America (LA).


A comprehensive literature review spanning 1960-2016 was performed, using "Diabetes," "Latin America," "Prevention," "Screening," and "Tools" as key words.


Two major tasks are underway in LA: adaptation of screening tools for high-risk individuals, and implementation of diabetes prevention programs. The Finnish Diabetes Risk Score (FINDRISC) is the most widely used screening tool to detect new cases of T2D and people with prediabetes, and it has been adapted (LA-FINDRISC) to include the waist circumference cutoff values appropriate for LA population (≥94 cm for men and ≥90 cm for women). The validation of the LA-FINDRISC performance depends on the local characteristics. A LA-FINDRISC score >10 may be the best cutoff to identify individuals with impaired glucose regulation in population-based studies, but a higher score (>12-14) might be more appropriate in a clinical setting. A shorter version of the FINDRISC using only the 4 variables with highest impact has been developed and validated in Colombia (ColDRISC). The translation of the Diabetes Prevention Program study in a Latino population in Venezuela found a significant improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors. An adaptation of the Diabetes Prevention Study in the DEMOJUAN study in Barranquilla, Colombia, reduced 2-hour postload glucose.


Successful transculturalization strategies have been implemented in screening tools and prevention programs in LA.


Originally published in Annals of Global Health.



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