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About The Program


Our vision is to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in those at risk by providing an

evidence-based behaviour-change counselling program that is accessible to everyone.


Diabetes prevention research has included landmark trails assessing diabetes prevention programs and their effectiveness. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), published out of the USA in 2002, investigated whether a 24-week lifestyle intervention and weight loss program would be better at preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes compared to treatment with the oral diabetes drug metformin. 


Those receiving the lifestyle intervention reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%, while those receiving metformin reduced their risk by 31%. Countless research studies have since shown the DPP to be effective at lowering diabetes risk. However, one downfall of long, intensive lifestyle programs is that they require a large time commitment which can be challenging to stick with over 24 weeks. 

In response to the study, the Director of the Diabetes Prevention Research Group Dr. Mary Jung developed the Small Steps for Big Changes program as a more cost-effective and time-efficient program to reduce type 2 diabetes risk. The program pilot tested first in 2012 with a sample of 32 adults. Participantswere found to regularly exercise and maintained their level of fitness 24 weeks after the brief intervention program. 


The program was then tested under the strict conditions of a randomized controlled trial at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus. 100 people at risk of type 2 diabetes took part in the study, which ended in 2016. Program participants, who were once inactive, were found to still be regularly exercising one year following the program completion and made reductions in independent risk factors for type 2 diabetes. 


The current vision for Small Steps for Big Changes is to make the program accessible for anyone at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Small Steps for Big Changes is currently being offered at participating YMCAsat no cost to participants. 

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