Owen Sound Sun Times article published on Apr. 6, 2016. Article in full pasted below.
Denis Langlois, Owen Sound Sun Times
Dr. Bruce Stanners says a diabetes prevention program in Owen Sound has helped to improve many lives since its start five years ago.
“The outcomes have been excellent,” the local family physician, who serves as medical adviser for the program, said in an interview Wednesday.
“We’ve seen a subjective side and objective. Subjectively, I’ve never heard people be so happy with how they feel in a program. I’ve had patients say I’ve never felt better in my life.”
Objectively, participants have dropped an average of 20 pounds each during the program, lost three inches around their waist and reduced their blood sugar levels, he said.
“That’s proving to us that we’re preventing diabetes. The original program that was done in the United States showed that this type of program can reduce diabetes by 39 per cent. We’ve had less than five per cent of our participants become diabetic,” he said.
The primary care diabetes prevention program began as a two-year demonstration project in Owen Sound in 2011 after the Owen Sound Family Health Team received special funding from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
Funding was renewed in 2013, which kept the program going until March 2015.
About 720 people registered for the program during those first four years.
However, no new money was announced in 2015, so the program was shelved.
Then, two months ago, the province identified the Owen Sound Family Health Team as a “centre of excellence in diabetes prevention.”
It, along with five other family health teams in Ontario, were chosen to receive additional funding to offer diabetes prevention programs for people at risk of developing the chronic condition.
The local family health team was also asked to train other FHTs in the region to set up their own programs.
Paul Osadzuk, a local physical therapist who serves as a lifestyle coach for the program, attended a course at the University of Pittsburgh – where the program originated 20 years ago – to become a master trainer.
The Owen Sound Family Health Team is planning to start offering the program again in early May.
It is looking for participants.
People with pre-diabetes – which is when a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis – or a metabolic syndrome can be referred by their family doctor or nurse practitioner. People with diabetes who have tried other programs without success can also request a referral.
Participants are put into groups of 15 to 20 people and attend about 22 one-hour sessions with a lifestyle coach over nine to 12 months.
They receive advice on healthy eating and how to boost physical activity as well as support to reach their goals, which are to lose and maintain a loss of seven per cent of body weight over a year and participate in 30 minutes of exercise daily.
Research has shown that about half of Type 2 diabetes may be prevented by early lifestyle intervention.
More than 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, according to the Canadian Diabetes Association.
The most common type, known as Type 2, occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin available.
Diabetes can lead to a number of complications as well as the onset of other illnesses. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in diabetics. Diabetes is also the leading cause in Canada of blindness and of kidney failure.