Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

November 14, 2011 10:15 ET

Government of Canada Helps Canadians Understand Diabetes Risks

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 14, 2011) - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today launched the Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire, known as CANRISK, to inform Canadians about their risks of developing type 2 diabetes and to encourage them to make healthy lifestyle decisions to prevent it.

"Type 2 diabetes and its complications are a growing health concern. For many people however, the disease can be managed and even prevented through lifestyle changes," said Minister Aglukkaq. "CANRISK is a simple tool to help Canadians understand if they are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes so they can make lifestyle changes before it's too late."

In order to increase awareness of diabetes prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with Shoppers Drug Mart to distribute CANRISK.

"Shoppers Drug Mart is committed to helping Canadians improve their health and by putting CANRISK into the hands of our customers and patients, we are encouraging people who may be at risk to take personal action to prevent diabetes for themselves and their families," said Dr. Dorian Lo, Executive Vice President, Pharmacy and Healthcare, Shoppers Drug Mart. "We are proud to be working together with the Public Health Agency of Canada to advance the prevention of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes."

"Education and awareness are cornerstones of preventive medicine," said Dr. Sandy Buchman, President, College of Family Physicians of Canada. "Tools like CANRISK can play an important role in supporting the dialogue between people and their health care practitioners about disease prevention."

"Partnerships between governments, the private sector, and organizations like the Canadian Diabetes Associations are key in the fight against diabetes," said Michael Cloutier, President and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association. "Efforts to increase screening and detection of diabetes are beneficial for all."

Approximately 2 million Canadians have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and many more are unaware that they have the disease. Complications from diabetes are common and can include blindness, kidney disease and heart disease.

By using innovative ways to disseminate risk awareness tools like CANRISK, the Government of Canada is helping to ensure that the Canadian public has the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. Currently, the CANRISK Questionnaire can be obtained at any Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix location, or accessed online at www.shoppersdrugmart.ca, www.pharmaprix.ca, or at www.publichealth.gc.ca/CANRISK.

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FACT SHEET

The Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire: CANRISK

Diabetes in Canada

Diabetes is a disease that poses a heavy burden to Canadians and their families. A growing population of younger Canadians are acquiring type 2 diabetes at earlier ages and even though treatment efforts are effective, secondary complications from diabetes are common and can include blindness, kidney disease and heart disease.

It is important that Canadians make healthy choices to protect their health during every stage of their life and those choices include healthy eating and making physical activity a part of everyday life.

The Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire: CANRISK

The CANRISK questionnaire was adapted from a Finnish version (FINDRISC), which is used in Finland as part of its national diabetes prevention program. The new Canadian version was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in consultation with the Prediabetes Technical Advisory Group, comprised of leading clinicians and academic researchers from across Canada. These technical experts helped PHAC adapt the questionnaire so that it could respond to Canada's multicultural reality.

CANRISK is a simple set of questions aimed at Canadians aged 40 to 74, including those who may have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. It is designed to identify people at high or moderate risk of developing pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, and to focus their attention on the specific factors that a person can modify.

While some factors are not modifiable, such as family history or ethno-cultural background, others such as diet, weight, and activity levels are. By understanding how risk factors may lead to diabetes, it is hoped that people will make lifestyle changes including regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight that can lead to long-term health.

Individuals who have questions after completing the questionnaire are encouraged to speak with a health care practitioner, such as a family doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist.

In order to ensure the scientific basis of CANRISK as a diabetes risk assessment tool, PHAC funded seven pilot studies across the country to develop scores representing the level of risk associated with each question on CANRISK. These studies were conducted in various ethnic populations known to be at high risk of developing diabetes. The analysis of the data from the pilot projects and the subsequent validation of the risk scores underwent peer-review.

By exploring innovative partnerships to disseminate risk awareness tools like CANRISK, the Government of Canada is helping to ensure that the Canadian public receive information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. Currently, the CANRISK Questionnaire can be obtained at any Shoppers Drug Mart or Pharmaprix location, or accessed online at www.shoppersdrugmart.ca, www.pharmaprix.ca, or at www.publichealth.gc.ca/CANRISK.

Contact Information

  • Health Canada
    Cailin Rodgers
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Media Relations
    Public Health Agency of Canada
    (613) 941-8189