May 28, 2009

Province Unveils New Tools to Help Manitobans Reduce Their Risk of Diabetes

Minister Invites Manitobans to Take Two-minute Online Test

New, easy-to-use online resources will help more Manitobans identify the risk factors that can lead to Type 2 diabetes and find ways to prevent or delay the onset of the disease, Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced today.

"Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that can shorten lives," said Irvin-Ross. "Fortunately, Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices. Today we're investing in new tools to help Manitobans make smart choices to reduce their risk."

A new website launched today will let Manitobans take a simple two-minute test to assess their risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. A public-awareness campaign running throughout June will invite Manitobans to take the online test and learn how small steps can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes.

The campaign reminds Manitobans that "losing a little from the middle" by staying active and eating well is among the most effective ways to lower the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. The province is investing $250,000 in the new campaign and website.

Irvin-Ross said a concerted call to action at all levels of government, across regions and jurisdictions, and in individual households, can lead to a reduction in the number of new cases of Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

"We are extremely pleased to support this co-ordinated call to action against diabetes," said Greg Unger, Manitoba's regional director of the Canadian Diabetes Association. "Positive shifts in community awareness and action is one of the best ways to reduce Type 2 diabetes incidence rates in this province."

"One of our region's priorities is to prevent and manage chronic diseases like diabetes," said Jim Hayes, chief executive officer of the North Eastman Regional Health Authority. "We will continue to support initiatives that help people make healthier choices and reduce their risk for Type 2 diabetes to live longer, healthier lives."

The minister also said today the province will work to improve access to diabetes care in three northern communities by piloting foot-care image-conferencing that will connect patients in Easterville, Grand Rapids and Moose Lake with doctors in Winnipeg. The $60,000 pilot will employ Manitoba-made camera technology and will be implemented later this year.

Irvin-Ross said the province will continue to invest in best practices to reduce the number of new cases of diabetes in Manitoba, noting today's commitment builds on more than $30 million in provincial funding to prevent diabetes and minimize complications of the disease.

Source: Manitoba Health

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