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The CHANGE Program

The CHANGE Program was created by leading health professionals at Metabolic Syndrome Canada to provide family medicine clinics with the tools they need to offer effective, lasting lifestyle intervention to patients with metabolic syndrome.

Based on evidence from diet and exercise research, the CHANGE Program focuses on long-term changes and overall well-being. It simultaneously targets the conditions that often progress to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, while reducing the need for medication.

Simple intervention with a big impact

A national study has examined participant outcomes in the CHANGE program. Prior to enrolling, approximately 60% of participants had underlying conditions to metabolic syndrome that were not adequately managed with medication. While taking part in the study, 19% of patients experienced a reversal of one or more metabolic syndrome conditions, and a further 42% demonstrated improvement in their diet and exercise scores. Participating in the CHANGE program was associated with a reduction in the 10-year risk of having a heart attack.

5 Keys to Success

What makes the CHANGE Program more effective at reversing metabolic syndrome (MetS) than other diets or workout plans? The difference can be summarized in five key ways:

Your family doctor — No one knows your health like your family doctor. As your primary source for information about your overall health, your family doctor plays an active role in the CHANGE Program, applying his or her medical knowledge to support and monitor your progress, and provide trusted advice.

A team approach — Your family doctor engages a dietitian and a kinesiologist (exercise specialist) to ensure you receive specialized expertise while in the CHANGE Program. This team of health professionals is with you at every step of your journey, working together to support your progress, and identify and address any challenges you face.

Personalized diet-exercise plan — Cookie-cutter programs don't work. The CHANGE Program draws on the expertise of your family doctor, dietitian and kinesiologist to tailor a program fit for your lifestyle, income, physical abilities and diet and exercise preferences, offering you the best opportunity for lasting change.

Gradual intervention — Bad habits die hard. The CHANGE Program will help you succeed by guiding you through incremental steps toward simple, achievable goals, with frequent support from your dietitian and kinesiologist.

Close follow-up over 12 months — Change takes time. To finally turn the page on stop-and-start attempts with diet and fitness fads, the CHANGE Program recognizes that you will likely need ongoing, consistent support and feedback for more than just a few months. Setbacks will naturally occur, and the CHANGE Program is designed to help you learn how to get back on track and achieve your goals for a healthier life.

The CHANGE Program

"A diet-exercise intervention is the most effective treatment for so many conditions I see on a daily basis, but it's hard to get patients to change their behaviour.  In 15 years of practice, rarely have I been able to stop medication for a patient, but with the CHANGE Program , I did it several times. As a family doctor, seeing such positive outcomes is hugely rewarding."

Dr. Doug Klein, Family Physician, Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network

“The CHANGE Program has helped physicians in our clinic successfully manage patients with deteriorating cardio-metabolic profiles. Some participants no longer have hypertension and metabolic syndrome, others have reduced diabetes or dyslipidemia medication. Patients that for 20 years hadn’t reduced their waist circumference saw improvement and found the health benefits of lifestyle intervention. The team approach provides patients with the motivation to do regular physical activity and eat well with pleasure, and physicians are more confident to recommend a non-pharmacological treatment. I think that all family medicine clinics should manage chronic disease with the CHANGE Program model."

Dr. Caroline Rhéaume and Dr. Marie-Josée Filion, Family Physicians, GMF-UMF Laval-Québec

“The innovative CHANGE intervention program has been shown to effectively address typical barriers to lifestyle programs by embedding the expertise of dietitians and kinesiologists with a patient’s own family physician to support an innovative, personalized nutrition and exercise intervention for patients with Metabolic Syndrome. By combining the CHANGE model with other provincial improvement initiatives and advanced techniques such as group visits with individualized patient supports, we have been able to transition the CHANGE Program from a demonstration project to a permanent CHANGE lifestyle support program with the Edmonton Oliver PCN. Results from this exceptional program continue to offer excellent, measurable supports to our patients."

Colleen Enns, Executive Director, Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network

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