Martin and Jeffery report evaluates MetSyn diabetes prevention program

December 19, 2012

A new report by Dr. Judith Martin of the University of Saskatchewan and Dr. Bonnie Jeffery of SPHERU evaluates a pilot project in Saskatoon aimed at reducing the chance that women will develop diabetes.

Metabolic Syndrome is an internationally recognized clinical diagnosis indicating an individual has a cluster of factors for Type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease. This syndrome is diagnosed when at least three of the following conditions exist: raised blood pressure, increased triglycerides, decreased HDL-C (good cholesterol), raised fasting blood sugar and an increased waist circumference of at least 80 centimeters.

The report notes that 29.5 per cent of women 18 or older in the Saskatoon Health Region are considered overweight, while another 15.9 per cent are categorized as “obese.”

From June 2010 to November 2011, the pilot project, MetSyn, used outreach methods and educational programming to help women cut their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The Women’s Mid-Life Health Centre of Saskatchewan invited 179 women with a diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome to take part in six educational sessions about MetSyn over a 12-month period. The evaluation design called for them to submit blood work at six-month intervals as well as have measurements taken on weight, waist and height. The participants were divided into two groups: one that simply went through the program and another that went through the program and received automated phone calls asking them about their progress on nutrition and activity goals and reminding them they could call to get referrals to nutrition or physical activity consultants. Ninety-four of the women completed the program.

Among Martin’s and Jeffery’s findings:

The assessment of the program found great interest among women in preventing diabetes, as well as strong response from physicians. Public education and media played a role in creating the demand for the program. There was also interest among Aboriginal women, though it was felt that they need their own resources to create culturally appropriate initiatives.

The report concludes a number of “thinking points” which speak to the need for more community-based strategies which support women to use the diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome as a motivating factor in making change that can prevent diabetes. (The full report is available on this website under Publications.)


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