Culturally adapting the prevention of diabetes and obesity in South Asians (PODOSA) trial

Sunita Wallia, Raj Bhopal, Anne Douglas, Carrie-Anne Sharma, A. Hutchinson, Gordon Murray, J Gill, N Sattar, Julia Lawton, Jaakko Tuomilehto, J Mcknight, John Forbes, M Lean, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type 2 diabetes is extremely common in South Asians, e.g. in men from Pakistani and Indian populations it is about three times as likely as in the general population in England, despite similarities in body mass index. Lifestyle interventions reduce the incidence of diabetes. Trials in Europe and North America have not, however, reported on the impact on South Asian populations separately or provided the details of their cross-cultural adaptation processes. Prevention of diabetes and obesity in South Asians (PODOSA) is a randomized, controlled trial in Scotland of an adapted, lifestyle intervention aimed at reducing weight and increasing physical activity to reduce type 2 diabetes in Indians and Pakistanis. The trial was adapted from the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study. We describe, reflect on and discuss the following key issues:

The core adaptations to the trial design, particularly the delivery of the intervention in homes by dietitians rather than in clinics.

The use of both a multilingual panel and professional translators to help translate and/or develop materials.

The processes and challenges of phonetic translation.

How intervention resources were adapted, modified, newly developed and translated into Urdu and Gurmukhi (written Punjabi).

The insights gained in PODOSA (including time pressures on investigators, imperfections in the adaptation process, the power of verbal rather than written information, the utilization of English and the mother-tongue languages simultaneously by participants and the costs) might help the research community, given the challenge of health promotion in multi-ethnic, urban societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-779
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number4
Early online date10 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • South Asians
  • diabetes prevention
  • cultural adaption
  • lifestyle modification


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