Original research| Volume 16, ISSUE 2, P301-306, April 2022

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A diagnosis of prediabetes when combined with lifestyle advice and support is considered helpful rather than a negative label by a demographically diverse group: A qualitative study

Published:December 22, 2021DOI:


      • Testing for prediabetes in high risk groups meets the criteria for screening.
      • A diagnosis of prediabetes can be shocking initially, but is not a negative label.
      • A diagnosis of prediabetes is helpful, when offered lifestyle advice and support.
      • Taking control and making dietary changes is preferred to Metformin for prediabetes.
      • A diagnosis of prediabetes without offering therapy is unethical.



      The aim of this study was to explore the experience and perceptions of a diagnosis of prediabetes among a demographically diverse sample of New Zealanders who had, and had not, regressed to normoglycaemia following participation in a primary care nurse-delivered intervention for 6 months. The sample included Indigenous Māori who have high rates of diabetes and associated co-morbidities.


      A purposefully selected sample of 58 people with prediabetes and BMI >25 kg/m2, stratified by male/female, Māori/non-Māori, and those who had/had not regressed to normoglycaemia, after completing 6-months of a prediabetes intervention were interviewed. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data were analysed by thematic analysis.


      Most participants recalled being shocked when told they had prediabetes, but they did not perceive the diagnosis to be a label in a negative sense, and some, described the diagnosis as helpful. Participants appreciated knowing that prediabetes could be reversed, and the opportunity to be able to take supported action and make lifestyle changes through the nurse-delivered prediabetes lifestyle intervention. Participants’ clear preference was to take control and make dietary changes, not to take Metformin.


      Prediabetes was not considered a negative label, but an opportunity, when coupled with a primary care nurse-delivered dietary intervention.


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