If you are at risk for diabetes or are living with prediabetes, a diabetes prevention program can provide you with valuable information about how to prevent it. Read on to learn more about diabetes prevention programs in Canada.
What is a diabetes prevention program?
A diabetes prevention program is an initiative – whether online, in person, in a group setting, or self-completed – that helps people understand their risk of diabetes and take the steps needed (e.g. lifestyle changes) to prevent or delay its onset.
What programs are available in Canada?
Below are some diabetes prevention programs available in various provinces and cities across the country.
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia – Small Steps for Big Changes
Small Steps for Big Changes is a lifestyle counselling program that can help people make lasting dietary and exercise changes in order to lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The program involves a personalized, one-on-one, 3-week training and counselling program. Participants in the program are educated about the benefits of aerobic exercise, healthy meal planning and weight loss. For more information about Small Steps for Big Changes program, click here.
Alberta – Yes Health Program
The Yes Health Program is a pilot project that is aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes among adults who have prediabetes. It is a digital program that is delivered through a smartphone app. This app provides participants with support from health coaches virtually in order to promote healthy lifestyles and better manage risk factors. Participants can discuss many issues associated with preventing diabetes, including meal planning, weight loss, physical activity and mental health.
This program is available to Albertans who have been deemed eligible by their family physicians in the primary care networks that have agreed to be part of the pilot. To learn more about the Yes Health Program, click here.
Toronto, Ontario – Diabetes Prevention Programs for Ethnic Communities
Three diabetes prevention programs for specific ethnicities currently available in Toronto are:
- Biim-Maa-Sii-Win (Way of Life)
This program supports Aboriginal populations. The program offers access to a chiropodist, traditional healers and outreach workers. Topics addressed in the program include meal planning and mental health.
- South Asian Diabetes Prevention Program
This program supports South Asian populations. Topics addressed include the importance of preventing type 2 diabetes, meal planning and weight loss.
- Unison Health and Community Service’s Diabetes Prevention Program
This program supports Caribbean, East African and Latin American populations. Topics addressed include meal planning and exercise.
For more information about these Diabetes Prevention Programs, click here.
Rexdale (Toronto), Ontario – Diabetes Prevention Workshop
The Rexdale Community Health Centre offers a Diabetes Prevention Workshop that is designed to help people diagnosed with prediabetes or those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The program is open to adults 40 years of age or older from high-risk ethnic populations (Asian, South Asian, Black, Hispanic, Arab and Indigenous). Workshop participants learn how they can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and have an opportunity to meet with a dietitian for information and support regarding nutrition and healthy meal planning.
For more information about the Rexdale Diabetes Prevention Workshop, click here.
The Ottawa YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program
The Ottawa YMCA offers a Diabetes Prevention Program, in which a trained lifestyle coach introduces topics of interest in a small-group environment. Participants will explore how healthy eating, physical activity and behaviour changes can help reduce their risk for diabetes. Program goals include:
- Reducing body weight by 5% to 7%
- Increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week
- Boosting energy and improving overall health
For more information about the Ottawa YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, click here.
Quebec – Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Program
The Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Program is an initiative designed to prevent type 2 diabetes in the Kahnawake community. (The Kahnawake are one of 8 communities that make up the Mohawk Nation.) It operates by implementing school, family and community intervention activities that promote healthy eating, physical activity and holistic wellness.
For more information about the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Program, click here.
How do you know if you might be at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?
The Canadian diabetes risk questionnaire (CANRISK) was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The questionnaire helps Canadians identify their risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. It is mainly for adults between the ages of 45 and 74, but may also be used for younger groups in high-risk populations.
Completing the questionnaire gives people an overall CANRISK score that shows their risk for prediabetes or diabetes. There are 11 questions, and it takes only 5 or 10 minutes to complete. You can complete the CANRISK questionnaire here.
Diabetes prevention programs are an important way that you can learn how to prevent the disease, connect with peers and healthcare professionals, and learn valuable tips for healthy eating, exercise and mental health. Ask your diabetes healthcare team about a diabetes prevention program in your area!