Diabetes prevention pack plans launch for January

Living with diabetes may be simpler in the future thanks to a kit to be made available by the Flemingdon Park Community Health Centre in January.

The prototype kit, including a booklet, DVD, measuring spoons, pedometer, measuring tape and stress ball, was displayed on Tuesday morning as part of the South Asian Diabetes Prevention Program (SADPP).

“The good news is that we can even now share this kit with communities living in Scarborough, North York, Markham and Scarborough,” said Neil Stephens, SADPP program co-ordinator at the centre.  “We do have a catchment area but we are working with other community health centres to set up early detection clinics in their areas and refer them to programs in their areas.”

Scarborough Centenary and West Hill Community Services have support groups and diabetes education programs for those in the area at risk.

Forty-four per cent of Scarborough’s population is of South Asian background, and consume a diet that is heavily rooted in carbohydrates or bad sugar. The SADPP was designed to counter problems with their diet and provide them with knowledge to change it.

“For people who come here from a different country where the eating habits are different, it’s really a huge adjustment,” said MPP Kathleen Wynne (Don Valley West).

As immigrants face the burden of social barriers they can turn to community health centres for free guidance. This isn’t the only place they can find free information.

“For those who physically can’t get a kit we’re going to make everything available electronically,” Stephens said. “For now, we are targeting giving our kits to people who need it the most such as older adults and South Asians because of the high risk factor of these communities.”

As production of these kits increases, other people who are perhaps at lower risk of contracting diabetes will be able to receive the benefits of this effort.  The SADPP’s goal is to inform the area of the epidemic that has now burdened the health of Ontarians.

“We now have over a million people in Ontario with diabetes and we’re expected to double that number over the next few years if nothing changes,”  Ontario health minister Deb Matthews said. “If we can get ahead of that and diagnose the people that are at risk of diabetes and give them the tools we need to prevent it or slow it down, then we’ve come a long way.”