Small Steps for Big Changes: Implementing an Evidence-Based Diabetes Prevention Program into Diverse Urban Communities

National Health and Medical Research Council

Research Team: Prof Genevieve Healy, A/Prof Mary Jung, Dr Sjaan Gomersall, Dr Ana Goode, Prof David Dunstan

Funding Body: 2021 NHMRC-CIHR Healthy Cities Implementation Science Team Grant Scheme

Years: 2023-2027

Small Steps for Big Changes is an evidence- and community-based diet and exercise intervention for individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes. Developed in Canada and designed for feasible and sustainable translation into communities, this 3-week program has demonstrated potent long-term impacts, with 85% of participants no longer having prediabetes 1-year post-program and nobody progressing to type 2 dibaetes. It now needs to be delivered at scale to achieve population-level impact.

Community partners on the project are committed to embed and deliver the Small Steps for Big Changes program across 11 Canadian municipalities and 5 Australian sites, including areas with low socioeconomic status, ethnoculturally diverse populations and high job and food insecurity. Using a hybrid implementation-effectiveness trial, the aim of the project is to evaluate the program across these multiple heterogenous communities. Findings will inform how to concurrently meet the needs of diverse populations that are most at risk of type 2 diabetes and how to devise sustainable, mutually beneficial intersectoral partnerships, including via knowledge exchange and capacity building.

This five year project will be funded by the NHMRC to conduct the Australian component of the study, and the project will also be supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The Australian partners are Logan Healthy Living and YMCA Queensland.

Project members

Professor Genevieve Healy

MRFF Emerging Leadership Fellow & Affiliate Professor of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

Dr Sjaan Gomersall

Affliate Senior Lecturer & Senior Research Fellow
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Dr Ana Goode

Research Fellow
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences