CHANGE Alberta: Reversing Metabolic Syndrome with Exercise and Diet

The whole point of a "Less is More" approach to Medicine is to focus on things that really help people live well. If we take resources from unnecessary tests and treatments, we could instead invest in social determinants of health, preventative health, and the tests and treatments that actually make a difference to the quality (and quantity) of people's lives.

It's no secret that an active lifestyle and a reasonable diet correlate with better physical and mental health. While unfortunately the studies have not been yet done to show that exercise prevents cardiovascular events in people with increased cardiovascular risk, we do know that generally, people who exercise can gain up to 4.5 years of life compared with sedentary counterparts. However, it is very hard for family doctors, and even NPs who may have a bit more time with each patient, to help patients alter their eating and exercise habits in a meaningful and lasting way.

Enter CHANGE Alberta. The Canadian Health Advanced by Nutrition and Graded Exercise (CHANGE) Alberta project seeks to find a way to reverse metabolic syndrome by supporting patients with nutrition and activity plans. Explore the website to learn more about the team-based approach, involving dieticians and kinesiologists, that they employed in primary health care settings.

I met Dr. Doug Klein (@DrDougKlein) at the Family Medicine Forum in Quebec in November, where he was sharing their promising results; with 302 patients enrolled, at one year, 28% had reversal of Metabolic Syndrome and overall 52.4% had reversal of at least one feature of Metabolic Syndrome.

Is this something you could integrate into your primary health clinic?