Health promotion among women with an ethnic minority background and prior gestational diabetes (GDM)

The project investigates the possibilities of health promoting solutions for the benefit of the target group. It is a collaboration between City of Copenhagen Municipality and Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen and is an adjunct to the Face It project.

Globally, it is estimated that 1 in 7 pregnancies are affected by hyperglycaemia. In Denmark, the prevalence of GDM has increased from 1.7 % in 2004 to 2.9 % in 2012. Studies have shown that women with certain ethnic backgrounds are at higher risk of developing GDM. Thus, the prevalence of GDM is 4.5 % among women in Denmark with an immigrant background.
Although GDM is usually a transient form of diabetes, approximately half of women with prior GDM develop type 2 diabetes within the first 10 years after their diagnosis. As studies have shown that the risk of diabetes can be reduced, identifying feasible and effective interventions is highly warranted.

However, previous studies have identified challenges associated with risk reduction of type 2 diabetes development, in this group. Studies from Sweden and Australia focusing on the experiences and perceptions of migrant women with GDM have highlighted barriers such as low risk awareness and limited knowledge of gestational diabetes. [1]  Furthermore, their perception of what constitutes healthy diet- and exercise practices during pregnancy differed from the perception of local health care providers. [2] This project focuses on identifying health promoting initiatives specifically targeting women living in Denmark with ethnic minority background and a history of gestational diabetes. The project seeks to identify their challenges and potential solutions and based on these findings develop a tailored health promoting intervention.

The intervention is developed through an iterative process based on qualitative empirical evidence in the form of interviews.


The aim of the initiative is to investigate the needs and possible solutions to increase the health and quality of life, as well as minimizing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, among women with an ethnic minority background and prior gestational diabetes residing in the City of Copenhagen.


City of Copenhagen Municipality.

[1] Hjelm, Katarina et al. “A qualitative study of developing beliefs about health, illness and healthcare in migrant African women with gestational diabetes living in Sweden” BMC women's health vol. 18,1 34. 5 Feb. 2018, doi:10.1186/s12905-018-0518-z e

[2] Bandyopadhyay, Mridula, et al. "Lived experience of gestational diabetes mellitus among immigrant South Asian women in Australia." Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 51.4 (2011): 360-364.
Fuld reference