UPEI researchers aim to help Islanders improve health through CHANGE program

Providing Islanders with tools to better manage their health
| Community
Marilyn Barrett
Principal investigator Marilyn Barrett, director of the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre

Researchers with UPEI’s Health and Wellness Centre and Recreation PEI are seeking participants for the free lifestyle intervention program known as Canadian Health Advanced by Nutrition and Graded Exercise (CHANGE). This is the third year the program will be offered in communities across Prince Edward Island, including Montague, Stratford, Charlottetown, Cornwall, Summerside, and Alberton. 

To be eligible, participants must have or be at risk of metabolic syndrome. Individuals with metabolic syndrome have at least two of these five conditions: high blood pressure, insulin resistance (diabetes or pre-diabetes), abdominal adiposity (weight carried around the middle), high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Participants will have their glucose and lipids levels checked a total of five times over a 12-month period, as well as measurements of fitness, waist circumference, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Participants can be referred by their physician or nurse practitioner, or they can sign up directly by contacting the CHANGE Program at CHANGE@upei.ca or 902-620-5156. 

Principal investigator Marilyn Barrett, director of the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre, stressed that the study is not a weight loss program.

“This is a lifestyle intervention study,” she said. “According to recent studies, 19 per cent of Canadians have metabolic syndrome, and one in five Islanders has high blood pressure, which is one of the indicators of the syndrome. Through the CHANGE program, we will provide participants with the tools they need to better manage health conditions they may have and improve their overall health through a Mediterranean diet and exercises that can be done safely at home.” 

The CHANGE program was created by Metabolic Syndrome Canada, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2011 to improve the long-term health of Canadians through effective direct and exercise lifestyle intervention. 

For more information, contact Marilyn Barrett at 902-566-0355 or mbarrett@upei.ca.

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