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The Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire: CANRISK

News Release: Government of Canada helps Canadians understand diabetes risks

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 External link, External link, or at