Chronic disease prevention and management

In the program cluster that addresses chronic disease; community-based programs deliver services and activities that aim to reduce the rate and improve management of chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer among First Nations and Aboriginal people.

The key objective is to improve the health and wellness of First Nations and Aboriginal individuals, families and communities through promotion of healthy living and supportive environments (important for the prevention of all chronic diseases) and specifically, to reduce the prevalence and incidence of diabetes. Focus is placed on addressing healthy eating, food security, physical activity and healthy weights, as well as increasing awareness of diabetes, its risk factors and complications and supporting diabetes education, screening and management. Activities include sharing community knowledge and promising practices, supporting community planning, and training health service providers and community workers.

Approaches to Cancer Prevention

Quitting isn't easy but it's worth it. Within 10 years of quitting, an ex-smoker's overall risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.

• Smoking is responsible for an estimated 30% of all cancer deaths in Canada and is related to more than 85% of lung cancer cases.

• Approximately 86% of First Nations people living on-reserve in BC live in smoke-free homes.

• Drinking any type of alcohol increases your risk of developing many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon and rectum.

• The less alcohol you drink, the more you reduce your risk.

• 7% of youth and 10% of adults reported binge drinking once a week or more in the year prior to the 2008 - 10 Regional Health Survey

• There are resources available to help you reduce or quit drinking.

• Incorporating traditional foods into your diet when available can help you keep a healthy body weight.

• You have a higher risk of developing cancer if you are overweight. Staying at a healthy body weight reduces your risk of cancer.

• According to the 2008-2010 First Nations Regional Health Survey, 34% of children, 12% of youth and 36% of adults were categorized as obese.

• Red meat and processed meat increase your risk of cancer.

• Regular physical activity helps protect against cancer.

• For First Nations people living on-reserve in BC, 80% of kids, 84% of youth and 62% of adults were categorized as being moderately physically active.



Read more in the Cancer Among First Nations People Living in British Columbia factsheet/infographic (PDF 144 KB)

Living With Cancer resource


The “Living with Cancer: Everyone Deserves Support”, resource includes culturally appropriate and safe information on patient rights and navigating the cancer journey. The information is told through the stories of Indigenous cancer patients and their families who have gone through a cancer journey. 

Living With Cancer (PDF 8.67 MB)


Diabetes programming aims to reduce Type 2 diabetes through health promotion and disease prevention programs, services and activities delivered by community diabetes workers and health service providers. The initiative provides training opportunities and continuing education to community diabetes prevention workers and health professionals, and increases community access and capacity to deliver diabetes prevention programs and services. These activities aim to increase awareness and knowledge of risk factors and approaches to diabetes prevention, and provide access to health promotion initiatives targeted at diabetes prevention, screening and management.


• Increase awareness of diabetes, diabetes risk factors and complications as well as ways to prevent diabetes and diabetes complications in First Nations and Inuit communities.

• Support activities targeted at healthy eating and food security.

• Increase physical activity as a healthy living practice.

• Increase the early detection and screening for complications of diabetes in First Nations and Aboriginal communities.

• Increase community member capacity to prevent and self-manage diabetes and health providers to capacity to support communities towards effective diabetes care.

• Increase knowledge development and information-sharing to inform community-led evidence-based activities.

• Develop partnerships to maximize the reach and impact of health promotion and primary prevention activities.


Health Promotion and Primary Prevention

Supports a wide range of community-led, and culturally relevant health promotion and prevention activities offered in First Nations and Inuit communities to promote diabetes awareness, healthy eating and physical activity as part of healthy lifestyles.

Screening and Treatment

Supports complications-screening initiatives in remote and rural areas in some regions. In other regions, program funding has been directed towards diabetes education, complications prevention including foot care programming and diabetes self-management.

Capacity Building & Training

Supports training for community diabetes prevention workers including continuing education for health professionals and para-professionals working in communities in areas such as: diabetes
education, health promotion, foot care, and cultural competency. Regional Multi-Disciplinary Teams provide subject matter expertise to communities in areas including diabetes, nutrition, food security and physical activity.

Research, Surveillance, Evaluation and Monitoring

Supports activities related to research, surveillance, evaluation and monitoring of diabetes prevention and promotion initiatives, and supports efforts to build the evidence base for nutrition and food security.

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