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CDA applauds City of Toronto for considering diabetes as an indicator to identify priority communities

March 12, 2014

Toronto, ON — The Canadian Diabetes Association commends the City of Toronto for considering expanding the number of priority neighbourhoods in Toronto by including the rate of diabetes as an indicator in identifying these communities.

“Levels of income and education affect health status and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Jan Hux, Chief Science Officer at the Canadian Diabetes Association. “In some cases, access to community health resources, nutritious food and recreation are not readily available creating challenges for individuals in certain neighbourhoods.”

While lifestyle factors such as low physical activity, an unhealthy diet and obesity may play a role in the development and management of type 2 diabetes in these communities, there are also other risk factors in developing type 2 diabetes that cannot be controlled. These factors include being a member of a high-risk population (Aboriginal, South Asian, Asian, Hispanic or African decent), age (being over 40), family history, self-care challenges, adapting to a new cultural environment, and other health complications. Many people also have limited control over their opportunities to be active, such as living in walkable neighbourhoods, or access to fresh, healthy foods.

“By identifying these priority communities using the rate of diabetes as an indicator, better community educational resources that build confidence in self-managing diabetes and that positively influence healthier behaviour can be made available for people living with the disease to ensure an optimal quality of life, and to possibly prevent or delay devastating complications,” adds Dr. Hux.

Diabetes is a complex disease with multifaceted causes and no known cure. Today, approximately 1.5 million Ontarians are living with diabetes—a number expected to rise to 1.9 million by 2020. Learn more about supporting Canadians living with diabetes.