Metabolic Syndrome Canada is changing the health of Canadians
Canada needs an intervention.
As our population ages, countless studies show that growing numbers of Canadians lead increasingly unhealthy lives. Whether our busy lifestyles require more time sitting in cars and in front of screens, or a lack of knowledge about how to purchase and prepare healthy foods, the situation is dire. Diabetes. Obesity. Cardiovascular disease. These types of chronic and deadly conditions are on the rise, costing billions in health care dollars and subjecting individuals and their families to untold suffering. Most importantly, it’s costing lives.
Underlying it all is a hidden but largely preventable epidemic: metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome Canada (MetSC) is a not-for-profit organization spearheaded by a group of leading health experts from across the country — practicing family physicians, medical researchers, dietetic specialists and kinesiologists — who are determined to find a better way.
Founded in 2011, MetSC has a clear mission: improve the long-term health of Canadians through effective diet and exercise lifestyle intervention.
In collaboration with innovative business minds, MetSC has created a program for family medicine clinics that reverses metabolic syndrome and prevents progression to serious conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The CHANGE Program has proven that family physicians and their patients can successfully reverse MetS with an innovative approach based on hard medical evidence and the expertise of dietitians and kinesiologists to pursue a lifestyle that reduces the risk of serious clinical disease. Through the CHANGE Program, doctors are better able to support their patients before life-threatening conditions surface.
The CHANGE Program is the vision of Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy, an internationally recognized Gastroenterologist and expert in the interaction between nutrition and disease. For more than 20 years, he was troubled watching a health system fail to apply mounting evidence that diet-exercise could prevent and reverse metabolic syndrome. Practical tools just weren’t available for family physicians or patients to apply nutrition and exercise in a scientifically effective way to prevent disease.
Dr. Jeejeebhoy envisioned giving family physicians a new approach, with practical tools and knowledge to successfully implement a proven diet-exercise program in busy family practices. What Dr. Jeejeebhoy recognized is that many people have a genetic trait called insulin resistance that induces metabolic syndrome — changes invisible to the patient but detectable by a family doctor that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. For this reason, Dr. Jeejeebhoy reasoned, the family doctor is the person most able to convey the health risk to patients and help modify their lifestyles.
Ken Flood, a successful business person and serial entrepreneur, saw the opportunity and more importantly, the impact this could have on improving the health of Canadians. Mr. Flood started building the team that would make this vision a reality: a national program available to all Canadians.
The CHANGE Program’s feasibility study currently underway at three diverse family practices in Edmonton, Toronto and Quebec City is demonstrating remarkable success. Given the right tools and resources, family practices can recruit patients to an evidence-based diet-exercise intervention and a majority of them will enthusiastically adhere to the program. Most significantly, CHANGE has successfully reduced metabolic syndrome and the risks of future cardiovascular events in a high percentage of patients.
These impressive results are garnering the attention of family medicine clinics across the country. MetSC is currently developing expansion plans to make the CHANGE Program available throughout Canada.