UBC Okanagan associate professor Mary Jung.

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.

Just Posted

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

.
Princeton’s Spotlight wins two provincial awards for excellence

Publisher takes first place for investigative reporting

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read