UBC Okanagan and the YMCA strengthen their research partnership through the signing of a collaborative memorandum of understanding. (Contributed)

UBC Okanagan, YMCA team up to tackle prediabetes with prevention program

The partnership looks to bring the evidence-based lifestyle programs to new communities

A type 2 diabetes prevention program from a UBC Okanagan and YMCA team-up will expand to more communities later this year.

The Small Steps for Big Changes program, which helps individuals make long-lasting positive lifestyle changes, was successfully piloted in the Okanagan in 2019 and will extend locally this year and to new communities over the next two years.

“The inspiration for the Small Steps for Big Changes initiative was to support those living with prediabetes, and more importantly, to help empower them to maintain their diet and exercise behaviours,” said Mary Jung, associate professor at UBC Okanagan.

“The goal of our partnership is to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in those at risk by providing a program that is accessible.”

READ MORE: UBCO researchers create technology to help protect grapes from wildfire smoke

The expansion of the Small Steps for Big Changes program will help steer behaviour change research directly, a goal that is aligned with the mission of the YMCA.

“As a charity dedicated to creating a healthy community for all, the YMCA ensures that every member has equal access to YMCA programs,” said Sharon Peterson, YMCA Okanagan CEO.

“Our partnership with UBC is a natural alignment between two organizations who care about and are committed to improving the health of all community members.”

READ MORE: Fresh Outlook Foundation to host community health summit in Kelowna

Building on a two-year collaboration as a university laboratory in the Kelowna YMCA’s downtown branch, Jung and the UBCO-YMCA team hope to show that a personalized, one-on-one, training and counselling program will be successful in helping participants make lasting dietary and exercise changes.

More information can be found here.

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