UBC Okanagan associate professor Mary Jung.

UBCO researcher creates diabetes diet

Partnership between university and the Kelowna YMCA sets-up university laboratory

With world diabetes happening tomorrow, UBC Okanagan associate professor Mary Jung wants to help those living with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes create and maintain healthy habits.

The developer and researcher has devoted her research career to investigating what makes healthy habits stick. Her laboratory at UBC’s Okanagan campus—while petri dish and beaker-free—has been home to multiple studies that sought to identify how to make lasting dietary and exercise changes. The result: Small Steps for Big Changes, a three-week personalized diet and exercise lifestyle counselling program for individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes.

With the help of a private BC foundation, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Small Steps for Big Changes is now available to the Okanagan community at the Kelowna Downtown YMCA.

Developed in 2012 with an initial group of 32 participants with prediabetes, the personalized, one-on-one, training and counselling program showed promising results. Fast forward to 2016, and once again, the program has proven to result in long-lasting positive lifestyle changes for its 100 participants at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The YMCA UBC collaboration represents a unique form of research in action. While typically health research experiences a 7-year delay from study to practice, the YMCA-based lab offers the cost-free, accessible program while continuing to gather evidence for wider adoption.

“This pilot represents an opportunity for continuing to build evidence of the program’s success, while putting the time-efficient, effective program directly in the hands of people who can use it,” says Jung, who explains the vision for the program is to offer access across British Columbia, and beyond.

While adhering to a healthy diet and regular exercise have innumerable rewards for all populations, the program was developed with the intention of addressing the silent epidemic of prediabetes, which Diabetes Canada reports is expected to grow to 23 per cent of the Canadian population by 2025.

“The goal is to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in those at risk by providing a program that is accessible and cost free,” says Jung.

“Our aim is to help individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to become independent exercisers and more devoted to a healthier diet. In the end, we want to enable positive, healthy and life-long changes to behaviour.”

YMCA of Okanagan was critical to moving the laboratory from campus to community. When Karlene Sewell, General Manager of Health Initiatives, learned of the program, it was a logical collaboration.

“YMCA of Okanagan is dedicated to building healthy communities,” says Sewell. “Small Steps for Big Changes represents YMCA’s pursuit of new programs and services that address the specific and unique needs in the communities we serve.”

The downtown community lab represents the first small step towards big changes for the YMCA and UBC partnership.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sicamous Eagles have late-season struggle ahead to maintain playoff hopes

A loss against the Columbia Valley Rockies on Jan. 18 put the Sicamous squad further in the hole.

House show in Sicamous a country cure for the winter blues

Space is limited for the Feb. 1 show from Dirt Road Opera.

Son of Stomp planned for July in Silver Creek

Previously the event was held in Sicamous for 30 years

Word on the street: How do you spend a snow day?

When snow cancels school and your boss tells you to stay home,… Continue reading

Sports Shorts

Keep up to date with local sporting events and news segments Curling… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Kelowna’s Tess Critchlow gears up for World Cup at Big White

Critchlow is a professional snowboarder competing for Team Canada in the boardercross competition

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Update: Highway reopens after crash west of Revelstoke

Drive BC also reported a vehicle incident 10 km east of Golden.

Most Read