​​​​​​​Chronic diseases can be detrimental to quality and quantity of life
Chronic diseases can be detrimental to quality and quantity of life. (Photo: Toronto Rehab)​

Toronto Rehab is leading a multi-province partnership to examine how Canadians can prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

Dr. Paul Oh, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, and three other rehab partners from Quebec, Nova Scotia and B.C. have received $2.4 million in funding from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and Health Canada to launch ACCELERATION – an activity, smoking cessation, healthy eating, alcohol intervention and motivation program aimed at chronic disease prevention.

ACCELERATION is part of CPAC's Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention (CLASP) initiative, along with seven other projects addressing issues such as obesity, tobacco use, screening for cancer and chronic disease, and the unique health needs of First Nations communities.

"This is the first Canadian project of this magnitude that will look at chronic disease prevention - diseases that can be detrimental to quality and quantity of life; and can put significant strain on our health system," said Dr. Oh. "There is an exciting potential that this three-year research project could change the way chronic disease prevention is done in Canada."

At Toronto Rehab, Dr. Oh's team will focus their clinical interventions on women at risk of breast cancer, women who have had gestational diabetes and family members of individuals who have been affected by cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The entire project will recruit at least 3,000 participants across the four provinces. Each provincial team will focus on different patient populations.

 The project's evaluation will focus on changes in behaviour and participation metrics before and after the interventions.

"Another unique component of ACCELERATION is the key role family and friends will play in the intervention and motivation," explained Dr. Oh. "We know that the support of family and friends is central to the success of a patient's behavioural changes. We will use digital media to engage their loved ones and measure that impact."

ACCELERATION will begin recruiting patients spring 2014.​

​Click here for the ACCELERATION media release​

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