Due to COVID-19, the FRESH START program is on hold and it is expected to resume in 2022.


Resources you may need:

What is Fresh Start?

Ontario's Primary Care Diabetes Prevention Program is a participant-centered, behavior change program offered in collaboration with community partner, under the name FRESH START. Over 12 months, 1 hour-long sessions are delivered by healthcare professionals in a group setting. It focuses on promoting a healthier lifestyle with 3 major components: healthy eating, physical activity and stress management.  

The emphasis of this program is primary prevention or delay start of type 2 diabetes in middle aged adults. Fresh Start is an adaptation from Diabetes Prevention Program-Group Lifestyle BalanceTM, created and evaluated by the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 and shown to be effective in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes (more information here). The program aims to increase physical activity levels, improve eating habits and quality of life indicators, and increase motivation to make healthy lifestyle changes. 

Timiskaming's 2019-2020 Fresh Start results can be found here. Currently the program is only delivered in English, in both New Liskeard and Kirkland Lake. 

Participants of the Fresh Start program will:

  • Learn about healthy eating, meal planning, mindful eating, eating away from home and more.
  • Learn to slowly and safely increase physical activity with guidance and support.
  • Learn strategies and tools for planning, problem solving and staying motivated. 

Participant eligibility is as follows:

  • Must be adult, working age.
  • Must have at least one of the following: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese. OR being currently medicated for at least one of these health conditions. OR must have any of the following conditions: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, survived a cancer (not currently in treatment)
  • Must not have a condition that makes weight loss unsafe, such as an eating disorder, a recent gastric bypass, pregnancy or plans to be pregnant in the next 6 months. 
  • Must not have any condition that limits your ability to do regular, moderate physical activity (i.e. injury, recent or future surgery).
  • Must not have a condition that requires specific nutrition care, such as end stage renal disease (or dialysis) or treatment for cancer.
  • Must not have an unmanaged substance use problem

Program Timelines and Location:

Locations: New Liskeard (Timiskaming Health Unit office) and Kirkland Lake (location to be confirmed – Fall 2019).

Fresh Start sessions (1 hour long) happen weekly for the first 3 months (September-December 2019), followed by bi-weekly sessions for 2 months (January-February 2020) and monthly for the remaining months (March-September 2020). 

To find out more or to register contact:  

Timiskaming Health Unit

Crystal Gorman, Public Health Promoter
Extension: 3238

Rim Mouhaffel, Public Health Dietitian
Extension: 3276