With the Aim 4 Health Program, Saskatoon Health Region collaborated with Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to validate the use of the Canadian Diabetes Risk Assessment Questionnaire (CANRISK) with a population of First Nations aged 20 to 39 years.

CANRISK is a statistically-validated tool developed for risk assessment of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes in the over-40 age group of the Canadian population.

A community screening

A total of 12 community screening events were held throughout Saskatoon Health Region.

The Region was one of four sites across Canada to pilot CANRISK with a younger population in order to detect their risk of developing diabetes or pre-diabetes in five to 10 years.

Partnerships were developed with First Nation communities, organizations, and educational institutes within the Region and they were invited to participate in the CANRISK survey. The Region held 12 community screening events with a total of 395 people attending.

Each community and organization’s personnel helped to identify the best way to reach and recruit their clientele. Participants for the screening events were recruited from inner city communities, and education and community organizations. At each screening event, participant consent was obtained, and blood work was completed. Education was provided by the Aim 4 Health team, covering topics such as healthy eating, exercise, risk-factor reduction, and how to connect with community services and resources. A culturally appropriate lunch was catered after each screening event and coupons and grocery store vouchers were provided.

Preliminary results found that of those in attendance, 5.3 per cent (21) had prediabetes, 3.3 per cent (13) had diabetes; 42 per cent had a mother, father, or sibling with diabetes, and 36 per cent had other family members with diabetes.

Other key findings from the CANRISK project include:

  • 5 per cent of the women had waist measurement of greater than 88 cm, and abdominal obesity is a significant increased health risk for diabetes.
  • 47 per cent of those in attendance eat vegetables/fruit daily, while 53 per cent did not eat vegetables/fruit every day.
  • 71 per cent do physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • 31 per cent of women (n=253) have given birth to a large baby weighing 9 lbs. (4.1 kg) or more.
  • 49 per cent reported they smoke daily; 24 per cent smoke occasionally; and 27 per cent do not smoke at all.

Many of the screening sites requested initiatives to engage and support the participants, including elder involvement, motivational speakers, story-telling and trained pet therapy dogs. The findings will be used to continue to build partnerships and to inform future strategies and initiatives to deliver risk assessment events for early detection and to follow-up with lifestyle education and programming for those identified as moderate and high risk for diabetes.

The Screening successes and strengths were attributed to the tremendous support and team approach. The LiveWell Diabetes Aim 4 Health team, St. Paul’s Hospital Selective Test Centre /Gamma Dynacare and Phlebotomists were supportive to the needs of the community participants. Nutrition and Nursing students assisted as part of their community experience.