UWinnipeg diabetes team empowering inner city youth
Team to share early successes of the Sun Life Youth Diabetes Awareness and Education Program at international conference
Program supporters Canadian Footwear and Roblin Athletics donated shoes and advised students on the benefits of proper footwear in an active lifestyle – Brian Sharfstein from Canadian Footwear fitting one of the Grade 11 Gordon Bell students from the Sun Life Youth Diabetes Awareness and Education Program
WINNIPEG, MB – A dedicated team from The University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Kinesiology has spent the past year developing and delivering a type 2 diabetes knowledge and education program tailored for inner city youth. With support from Sun Life Financial, the team, led by Dr. Nathan Hall, has created a unique hands-on education program — the Sun Life Youth Diabetes Awareness and Education Program.
Since conception last year, the program has been delivered twice with rave reviews from the youth participants, school administrators, and community organizations that have been involved. Students were exposed to 32 hours of programming that included physical activity, nutrition engagement and education through healthy snack development, and educational lessons aimed at reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The first program ran from October to December 2013 at UWinnipeg with students from the Collegiate Model School. The second program was delivered at Gordon Bell High School from February to April 2014.
“The best thing about this program is that we are working in a hands-on environment with inner city youth who really can benefit from these types of experiences,” said Dr. Hall. “The youth are not only walking away from this program with a better understanding of how easily they can reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes through physical activity and healthy eating, but they are also learning to take personal responsibility for their immediate and long-term health and well-being. For many of these students, they are already living very independent lifestyles and so this type of personal development is exceedingly valuable.”
The new program has received considerable support. Nationwide organizations such as the Canadian Diabetes Association, JDRF, and the YMCA worked with UWinnipeg to provide resources and promotional incentives to give to participants.
In addition, local companies such as Canadian Footwear and Roblin Athletics provided their endorsement of the program through donation of shoes and offered expert advice to the students about the benefits of proper footwear in an active lifestyle. .
“We’re excited to see the positive early results coming out of the program to promote diabetes awareness”, says Paul Joliat, Assistant Vice-President, Philanthropy, Sun Life Financial. “We are committed to educating Canadians in our efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes and this program is helping us accomplish this goal, one person at a time.”
The UWinnipeg team, including Dr. Hall, Dr. Robert Pryce, Dr. Danielle Stringer, Mr. Gerren McDonald and Ms. Jacqueline Hay, are attending the first ever Global Summit on the Physical Activity of Children, an international conference from May 19 to 22, 2014 in Toronto, to give two presentations related to their work, In addition, other research findings are also being presented at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) National Conference being held at Brock University from May 24to 28.
Two more rounds of the Sun Life Youth Diabetes Awareness and Education Program are planned for Fall 2014 and numerous research projects are in development.
Dr. Nathan Hall is a faculty member in both the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health and the Faculty of Education at UWinnipeg and is Director of the Sun Life Youth Diabetes Awareness and Education Program. Dr. Hall developed the physical activity components to the awareness and education program, has attended all sessions and delivered much of the program to the youth participants, and is leading the team’s research related to the educational and teaching benefits for university students who help deliver the youth diabetes program.
Jacqueline Hay is a Certified Exercise Physiologist who recently completed a Masters of Science where she studied the role of high intensity exercise on diabetes risk in youth, and she is the Assistant Director for the Sun Life Youth Diabetes Awareness and Education program. Her role has been to aid in all aspects of delivery of the program, and specifically to help deliver the diabetes-related content for the education component of the program. She is also assisting in all of the research projects associated with the program.
Dr. Danielle Stringer is an instructor in the area of nutrition for the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health at UWinnipeg. Dr. Stringer’s research interests include prevention and management of obesity and type 2 diabetes using nutrition-based strategies. Her involvement in the Sun Life Youth Diabetes Awareness and Education Program includes developing the diabetes and nutrition-related content for the education component of the program, as well as conducting research on nutritional choices of participants of the program.
Dr. Rob Pryce is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health at UWinnipeg. His research interests are clinical/obesity biomechanics and physical activity (PA) measurement. His involvement in the Sun Life diabetes research project is to lead our team’s research regarding the amount of PA children receive during novel, group-based games and to identify individual determinants of PA during these games (i.e. why some children participate more than others). These findings will help educators and clinicians select activities that provide maximal benefit and that encourage all participants to be physically active.
Gerren McDonald is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health at UWinnipeg. His research interests are in children’s exercise physiology and thermo-physiology. He is involved as part of the research team in the Sun Life diabetes awareness and education program, and as a Certified Exercise Physiologist for the health and fitness assessments.
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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg
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