York’s Diabetes Prevention Program seeks volunteers for a new study

In Canada, the Chinese, South Asian, African and African-Caribbean populations have a very high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, leg amputation and kidney failure in Canada.

A team of researchers from the Physical Activity & Chronic Disease Unit in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science in York’s Faculty of Health is working on a new research project investigating ways to prevent this disease and its complications from developing. The Pre-diabetes Detection & Physical Activity Intervention Delivery Project (PRE-PAID) is examining the effectiveness of community-based interventions on the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a condition characterized by a slight elevation in blood sugar levels, which increases a person’s risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease within two to five years. Researchers can now determine if someone has pre-diabetes or diabetes with a simple blood test that only takes a few minutes. They are looking for Chinese, South Asian, African and African-Caribbean people who have pre-diabetes by screening members of these high-risk populations. York community members who are of these ethnicities are encouraged to take part in the project.

The project, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is now working with the Black Creek Community Health Centre and other community organizations to recruit Chinese, South Asian, African and African-Caribbean people who are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes based on their age (40 to 64 years old), risk factors (family history and weight) and a lack of physical activity.

Half of these people will take part in a six-month, supervised exercise program (free of charge) that will include a variety of fun activities, including dance activities such as socacize, Bollywood, line dancing and other physical activites. The other half of the participants will take part in a six-week educational workshop that provides hands-on instruction for diabetes prevention, including information about diet and physical activity education.

The goal of the program is to prevent people who are pre-diabetic from developing type 2 diabetes. Previous research has shown that regular exercise and diet are the most effective ways to reduce Type 2 diabetes risk.

If successful, this program will lead to many more similar programs in other communities and prove that community-based interventions are possible and effective in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

The PRE-PAID team will be hosting pre-diabetes screening sessions every Monday morning on the Keele campus, from 7:45 to 11am, in 120 Norman Bethune College. Screening sessions will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

If you fit the above risk profile and are interested in becoming a participant in the project, contact Chip Rowan, PRE-PAID project coordinator, at 647-378-6777 or stopdiab@yorku.ca.

For more information, please visit the Diabetes Prevention Program Web site.