Diabetes onset often occurs several years before the condition is medically diagnosed. It is estimated that as many as one-third of adults living with the condition are unaware that they have diabetes. Early lifestyle or medical intervention may prevent 30-60% of type 2 diabetes.
Chrysler Canada Inc. and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit partnered to deliver a comprehensive program to prevent, detect and manage diabetes in employees, retirees and family members. It was integrated into an existing workplace wellness program.
The diabetes program aimed to increase awareness of diabetes risk factors and prevention; to promote the adoption of healthy eating, active living and type 2 diabetes prevention behaviours; and to identify, educate, refer and support individuals at high risk for developing diabetes, as well as those living with undiagnosed and diagnosed diabetes.
Between September 2007 and April 2008, 2,856 employees, retirees and family members participated in diabetes clinics, and an additional 3,500 received information mailed to their home. The program consisted of three main components:
Information was provided through Working Towards Wellness newsletters, a diabetes-specific brochure, diabetes-specific content on the Working Towards Wellness website, posters in key locations and presentations during two diabetes mini-expos.
Health Assessment, Screening and Referral:
Diabetes Screening and Wellness clinics were held at Chrysler facilities and selected community locations. Clinic participants completed a confidential diabetes risk questionnaire, had biometric screening and met with a health educator. All participants also received one of three health education packages: Healthy Living; Diabetes Prevention; or Living With Diabetes.
Employees, retirees and family members living with diabetes who did not attend the expos or a clinic were mailed the Living With Diabetes health education package.
"So many people didn't know where they stood health wise—no clue that they're ripe for a heart attack"
Participating Health Provider
Chrysler Canada and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit partnered with Sheppell-fgi to design and implement the evaluation. The evaluation strategy included the use of five data collection tools: a feedback survey for clinic participants; a follow-up survey for clinic participants; a home mail-out for recipient feedback; target audience focus groups; and a health care provider feedback survey.
"Participants reported that while getting people off the line was a major barrier to participation, many were able to get time with their supervisors help"
Summary From Employee Feedback Survey
The uptake for this program was greater than the organizers had anticipated. Several factors may have contributed to this, including the following:
This program relied on existing resources such as Working Towards Wellness program resources, fact sheets on diabetes, Canada's Physical Activity Guide and Diabetes for Dummies, 3rd edition.