November 14, 2011 (Revised November 15, 2011)
Don Mills, Ontario
Check Against Delivery
Thank you Jeff for that warm introduction, and thank you Dr. Lo for hosting this important announcement this morning.
Today is World Diabetes Day, as well as the 90th anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best. To celebrate this medical victory, both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Diabetes Association, are honouring Canadian diabetes champions.
So it is the perfect time for me to be here today to tell Canadians about a new tool that we have developed to promote diabetes education and awareness.
Many of us have family members or friends who are living with diabetes. We see the struggles they face and the impact that this disease can have on their lives.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Living with type 1 diabetes means living a structured lifestyle to adequately regulate blood sugar and avoid complications.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In fact, nine out of ten Canadians with diabetes have type 2. It can lead to blindness, heart disease, kidney disease and other serious complications.
We know that about 2 million Canadians have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We also know that many more have it, but don't know they do.
For many Canadians, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. That is why is it so important that we all have the information we need to understand our risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the things we can do to prevent this disease.
Making healthy food choices and being physically active are the keys to prevention.
Our government is committed to helping Canadians reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
And that's why we've created the Canadian Diabetes Risk Questionnaire. Called CANRISK for short, this is a simple tool Canadians can use to see if they might be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
It was developed with Canada's diverse population in mind, and by answering a few basic questions, it gives you a score to let you know just how high your risk is.
As federal Minister of Health, and as someone who used to serve as a Territorial health minister, I know that the best results happen when we work together to help promote and protect the health of Canadians.
That is why I'm glad to be here today at Shoppers Drug Mart to launch a collaboration with pharmacists across the country to spread this important message.
We all know the important role pharmacists play in communities. They don't just fill prescriptions. Pharmacists provide advice and guidance on a range of health problems. They are a source of information and support.
CANRISK will be available in Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix pharmacies across the country.
And here at Shoppers Drug Mart, you can speak to the onsite pharmacist, who has the training to answer any questions you may have.
My sincere thanks to the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy team for their hard work in diabetes prevention and control. Thank you also for helping to make CANRISK available to Canadians.
Canadians may not realize how their weight, their age, their ethnicity, and their level of physical activity affect their diabetes risk.
So we need to get everyone thinking about and talking about diabetes because that leads us to think about healthy living. It leads to making healthier choices.
I encourage you to use CANRISK to help you make healthy choices.
Once you've completed the questionnaire, you can discuss your results with your pharmacist, your doctor or nurse. You can talk to your family and friends and help them understand their own risk.
The Government of Canada is always looking for new ways to put information into the hands of the people, so they can make informed choices about their health.
Working with pharmacists at Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix is a great way to do that.
We are very fortunate in Canada to have dedicated organizations working to help Canadians prevent diabetes and to manage it when it occurs.
This morning, on World Diabetes Day, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation hosted a joint celebration of the 90th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. These organizations, along with DiabŔte Quebec, are making a difference in the lives of Canadians. I want to recognize the work done by these organizations and their volunteers.
In closing, I would like to encourage the public to complete the CANRISK Questionnaire and I congratulate Shoppers Drug Mart for its leadership in diabetes education.