Lifestyle Choices Can Play a Big Role in the Self-Management of Chronic Diseases

March 16, 2018  

By Jéréon Claude Ntibabaza Nigene, Francophone Health Promoter, CSC CHIGAMIK CHC

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person and are commonly a slow progression that can worsen over time, if not managed properly. The four main types of chronic diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. Although chronic diseases are among the most preventable, many are linked to behavioural or lifestyle choices. For example, poor eating habits and lack of exercise are major contributors to type 2 diabetes and obesity.

These diseases are among the main challenges facing Ontario’s health care system. In fact, approximaltey four million people over the age of 45 are living with a chronic disease or condition in Ontario alone. And, about 70 per cent of these people are coping with two or more chronic diseases.

Therefore, supporting patients to better self-manage their chronic conditions can improve overall health outcomes, quality of life and reduce the burden on our health system.

Chronic conditions self-management programs available at Chigamik

In order to provide culturally relevant, holistic programs to equip our communities with the tools needed to achieve optimal health and well-being, Chigamik is offering Chronic Conditions Self-Management programs. Also known as the Chronic Disease Self-Management program, this six-week program helps people with chronic conditions better manage their symptoms and improve their daily lives. Available in both French and English, this program teaches participants practical life skills, giving them the confidence and motivation they need to manage the challenges of living with chronic health conditions such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Chronic Lung Disease, Asthma, Fibromyalgia, etc. Participants learn ways to improve their health through healthy eating, physical activity, action planning, communication, and more.

Who can register?

Adults experiencing any type of chronic health condition, as well as their family, friends and/or caregivers. This program is free and participants receive the Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions course book in either French or English. However, participants must pre-register for the program and are encouraged to attend all six sessions.

 ho facilitates the workshops?

The program was developed and researched at Stanford University. Chigamik offers a French program led by two francophone health promoters, who have taken special training in French. The program is also offered in English.

Upcoming Programs

Chigamik plays an active role in the improvement of the lives of individuals, families and communities of North Simcoe Muskoka. As an inclusive Community Health Centre, we strive to leave no one behind. Workshops on the self-management of chronic conditions will be offered at different locations within the North Simcoe Muskoka community. Shorter versions of the six-week program will also be offered in collaboration with other community partners. Please visit to learn more and to register for upcoming programs.