South Asian Health Institute in Surrey aims to prevent diseases such as diabetes

Published: February 15, 2013

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Surrey Memorial Hospital

Will a new South Asian Health Institute help prevent more trips to the hospital? That’s the plan. Ric Ernst/PNG

Sugar in countless cups of tea and sweets, and savoury meals that are often swimming in butter have led to high chronic disease rates among South Asians, now the target of a new prevention program in British Columbia.

The South Asian Health Institute has been established with the hope that lifestyle changes can slash conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which is up to three times higher than in the general population.

Dr. Arun Garg, the institute’s medical director, said Friday that the focus will be on preventing diseases rather than fixing them through late intervention, which can come at a high cost to individuals, families and the health-care system.

The Fraser Health Authority launched the program in Surrey, B.C., home to the third-largest South Asian population in Canada.

Dr. Nigel Murray, the authority’s president, said the goal is to provide culturally appropriate early intervention and management of chronic conditions, which are caused by both environmental and hereditary factors.

RELATED STORIES: 

The institute will build on current programs at the health authority and foster new collaborations to improve the health of South Asians, Garg said.

“We’re really hoping that by having this kind of awareness we will also attract academic collaboration with centres like Simon Fraser University and the (University of B.C.) and that will give us more of a scientific basis for this.”

Garg said it’s challenging for people to make lifestyle changes, especially when it comes to their long-established diet, but he hopes that education and awareness in different sectors of the South Asian population will make a collective difference.

“People are quite attached to what they eat but I think it’s very worthwhile to make the effort,” he said.

By the fall, the health authority hopes to start an education program at a high school in Surrey to teach students about healthy diet and other lifestyle choices, Garg said.

“Where I think the biggest impact will be is when we reach out to pregnant women.”

Garg envisions a program that will allow family doctors to send their diabetes patients to an outpatient clinic where they can get ongoing support with diet issues, for example.

“They’re still connected with the physician they’re seeing and (the clinic) is integrated with the care that this physician is providing.”

“What we want to do is support general practitioners and individual physicians who are already involved with people,” he said. “But what’s better is to start at an earlier stage with prevention.”

Garg said the Fraser Health Authority, which includes 12 hospitals, has a population of about 180,000 South Asians, most of them in the Surrey and Abbotsford areas.

A 2011 study by McMaster University in Hamilton suggested that for South Asians, fat cells collect in internal organs such as the liver.

It included 108 healthy South Asians and Caucasians with an average age in the mid-30s and similar body mass index.

The results provided backing for the message that Canadians whose families originated in the Indian subcontinent should try to burn off excess calories.

 


Tags: , , , ,





Featured

linda-hepnerdesi

Mayoral candidate Linda Hepner commits to operational Surrey LRT by 2018

Mayoral hopeful says Surrey residents haven’t seen an expansion in LRT for two decades  AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — Mayoral hopeful Linda Hepner says…
Continue Reading »

10336715_10152221434949315_4707600074607000802_n

Sikhs bring campaign against violence to Vancouver

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Sikhs from around the globe are bringing their efforts to “end the silence on violence” to Vancouver this weekend. U.K.-based organization…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Today in History – Nov. 3

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Nov. 3: On this date: In 1580, English explorer Sir Francis Drake returned from his voyage around…
Continue Reading »

linda-hepnerdesi

Mayoral candidate Linda Hepner commits to operational Surrey LRT by 2018

Mayoral hopeful says Surrey residents haven’t seen an expansion in LRT for two decades  AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — Mayoral hopeful Linda Hepner says…
Continue Reading »

10336715_10152221434949315_4707600074607000802_n

Sikhs bring campaign against violence to Vancouver

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Sikhs from around the globe are bringing their efforts to “end the silence on violence” to Vancouver this weekend. U.K.-based organization…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper: Attack by ‘terrorist’ on Parliament Hill won’t weaken Canada’s resolve

JOAN BRYDEN THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA – The gunman who staged a deadly attack Wednesday on Parliament Hill was a terrorist whose despicable crime will…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-Surrey-Festival-India

Diwali celebrations in Vancouver and Surrey

DiwaliFest celebrates its 11th anniversary from Oct. 17 to 26 at various sites in Surrey and Vancouver. Diwali Celebration Friday, Oct. 24 at Firehall Centre…
Continue Reading »

India-weird news

Rudaali: India’s professional ‘weeping women’ demand higher pay

CEN AGENCY Professional mourners who are hired to turn up at people’s funerals in India, beat their breasts and wail, are going on strike for…
Continue Reading »

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Narendra Modi to attend Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding?

HINDUSTAN TIMES If all goes as per plan, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi just might be attending the wedding of Salman Khan’s sister, Arpita Khan….
Continue Reading »

Bollywood kiss

Bollywood’s king of kisses Emraan Hashmi refuses to dance with the queen of sex Sunny Leone

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood’s serial kisser Emraan Hashmi has refused to share screen space with porn star-turned Bollywood-actress Sunny Leone, Indian tabloid Mid-Day reported. Hashmi, who…
Continue Reading »

Jackie Chan

First India-China joint venture film starring Jackie Chan launched

HINDUSTAN TIMES Chinese action star Jackie Chan will star in the first Sino-India joint film production slated to go on the floors in the coming…
Continue Reading »