Education can mean prevention for Londoners with prediabetes

April 12, 2010

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London, ON – Brescia University College Professor Isabelle Giroux  has received funding from The Lawson Foundation to advance research and  education that will help Londoners identified with Prediabetes (pre-DM)  to make smart lifestyle choices that will help delay or prevent the  onset of Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM).

Pre-DM  is defined as the presence of impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired  glucose tolerance. Giroux said it is a serious and complex health  condition affecting many Canadians. “Pre-DM is a diagnosis that puts  people at high risk of developing T2DM, heart disease, and other health  problems. The prevalence of this chronic disease has been increasing  such that the number of Canadians with T2DM is projected to reach 2.4  million in 2010.”

The  Lawson Foundation has provided funding for two years of research and  community education to be conducted by Giroux, the principal  investigator, with Drs. Paula Dworatzek and Danielle Battram, also of  Brescia. There are also integral roles for three graduate students,  four undergraduate research assistants, and a team of several  undergraduate volunteer students. All of the faculty members involved  have experience in community-based nutrition and research and the  participating students are studying Foods and Nutrition at Brescia and  will receive professional training by a team that includes a Certified  Diabetes Educator.

While  the funding supports two years of the project, the outcomes will be  sustainable and shared via a web site, through education in the  community and in the classroom, in presentations at professional  conferences, and through manuscripts. “Locally, this project will  strengthen the delivery of pre-DM health services through  community-based patient-centred healthy lifestyle intervention. This  will entail a self-management focus in order to engage the high-risk  population of individuals diagnosed with pre-DM living in London,”  Giroux said.

This  new project builds on the work of the “Prediabetes initiative and  partnership” that Giroux created in 2007 in partnership with the  Diabetes Education Centre (DEC) of St. Joseph’s Health Care London. The  partnership identified individuals diagnosed with pre-DM and offered  education to increase awareness of their risk factors to develop T2DM  and healthy lifestyle options – ideally helping them to delay or  prevent T2DM. Studies show that lifestyle interventions that target  physical activity and diet reduce the risk for developing T2DM by about  58 per cent.

“We  estimate that 240 individuals with pre-DM will have attended our  Prediabetes Lifestyle and Behaviour Change Intervention Program in  2010-2012. Indicators of success will be for each individual to have  made and sustained for one year at least six positive lifestyle  changes, thereby having made efforts to self-manage their pre-DM and  sustain their quality of life,” Giroux said.

The  objectives of the project include assessing and comparing the baseline  characteristics of a population of adults aged 30-59 years, and older  adults aged 60 and older, diagnosed with pre-DM in the London  community. In addition, the project will implement and evaluate the  overall effectiveness of the “Prediabetes Lifestyle and Behaviour  Change Intervention Program.” All project outcomes will be evaluated to  see how helpful the project is for the targeted population and to  assess the experiential learning of Foods and Nutrition students.

“We  saw a learning opportunity for students to develop their skills as  future health care workers and community workers. It’s a very unique  partnership. As far as I know it’s the only one in Canada. It started  as a partnership between DEC and Brescia and the research came after.  The Canadian Diabetes Association – Southwest Ontario Regional  Leadership Centre and the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at the  University of Western Ontario are now part of the partnership.  We’re  hoping that through this research we can measure outcomes and assist in  the development of guidelines to help adults manage pre-DM and delay  diabetes. The program and the partnership will be helpful for our  community for sure, and likely others, too.”

For more information about  the Prediabetes Initiative and Partnership, please visit http://www.brescia.uwo.ca/prediabetes_initiative/

Brescia  University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is  affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 1,100 women  registered as either full or part-time students at Brescia study a wide  variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition  in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating  environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College  welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more  information, please visit www.brescia.uwo.ca

For more information,  please contact:

Dr. Isabelle Giroux                                                   Professor  in the Division of Foods and Nutritional Sciences                                                   519.432.8353,  ext. 28255                                               E-mail: igiroux@uwo.ca