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The Canadian Diabetes Prevention Program (CDPP), a collaboration of Diabetes Canada and LMC Healthcare, will help Canadians with prediabetes or multiple risk factors prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. The new lifestyle change program is part of a national initiative that uses individualized coaching as well as digital and telephone support.

“Type 2 diabetes is a permanent disease once it develops, so prevention is critical,” says endocrinologist Dr. Harpreet Bajaj, the principal investigator for CDPP and a volunteer with Diabetes Canada’s professional section.

The program was modelled on a successful U.S. initiative by the Center for Disease Control that showed that a moderate weight loss (just five to seven per cent) reduced the rate of diabetes development by almost 60 per cent in one year for those at risk. This strong evidence motivated Diabetes Canada and LMC, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, to bring the program to Canadians, says Dr. Seema Nagpal, vice president of science and policy at Diabetes Canada.

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The Canadian pilot builds upon the U.S. model by making it scalable, leveraging technology to make it much more accessible, says Dr. Bajaj. The program launched in the greater Toronto area this summer and is soon to be extended to Winnipeg and then to other major cities across Canada.

Diabetes occurs for many reasons and in many cases can be prevented. However, it will take a shift in how we live, play and work.

— Dr. Seema Nagpal vice president of science and policy with Diabetes Canada

In a few minutes, by completing an online questionnaire on the program’s website (, it is possible to identify one’s risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Those at high risk can then enroll in the prevention program on the website and set their own health targets. Free personalized health coaching and motivational interviewing are provided throughout the one-year program to help achieve those targets. (People diagnosed with prediabetes can enroll directly into the program even if they fall below the high-risk threshold). People can also talk to their doctor about getting enrolled.

Using the platform, developed in collaboration with and powered by INTERVENT, participants have access to educational modules covering: healthy eating, physical activity, weight and stress management; audio educational kits; personalized meal and exercise plans; tools to track eating, exercise, weight and stress; healthy recipes; and challenges and incentives, including draws for prizes. Collaborations with Dynacare provide in-home lab and body weight measurement.

“Diabetes occurs for many reasons and in many cases can be prevented. However, it will take a shift in how we live, play and work,” says Dr. Nagpal. “Diabetes Canada, with many other partners, has developed an approach called Diabetes 360o, which addresses the full continuum of prevention, screening and management, and research.”

The Canadian Diabetes Prevention program is an important component of the proposed national diabetes strategy. It promotes awareness, urging Canadians to know their risk status, and making it easy to do so. It then provides access to a well-proven program to reduce risk. “When you prevent diabetes by modifying risk factors, you are also reducing the risk of many other conditions, like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, cancer.”

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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