About the Program


Small Steps for Big Changes is an evidence-based lifestyle program designed to help make lasting lifestyle changes to lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Your patients will learn how to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine, and to make sustainable dietary changes.


How does the program work?

The free program is offered monthly at the Kelowna Downtown YMCA and the Kelowna Family YMCA.

Program Intake 

Training Phase

  • 6 sessions of 1-on-1 exercise and dietary change counselling with a trained coach over 3 weeks
  • 2-4 exercise sessions on your own each week
  • Track your diet and exercise with a health app and fitness watch
  • Receive a complimentary 1-month YMCA gym membership
  • Includes 2 types of exercise training:
    • Continuous exercise at a steady pace for 20-30 minutes
    • Interval exercise that involves alternating between a brief bout of higher-intensity activity followed by a bout of lower-intensity activity for 12-15 minutes


  • 1-month: Check-in with coach
  • 6- and 12-months: Follow-up


Does this program work?

The Small Steps for Big Changes program has been examined in our laboratory at the University of British Columbia (Diabetes Prevention Research Group) with over 140 people at risk for type 2 diabetes. We examined whether individuals who are not exercising regularly enjoyed Small Steps for Big Changes, and if the program helps individuals to stick to exercise in the long run. We found that adults who are not exercising regularly and who are at risk for type 2 diabetes enjoyed the Small Steps for Big Changes exercise training. When we followed up, we also found that majority of individuals continued to be physically active months after the program ended.  Those who participated in the Small Steps for Big Changes program also improved their fitness levels, showed evidence of reduced inflammation, decreased their waist circumference and experienced weight loss.


Who can participate in Small Steps for Big Changes?

Patients must be between the ages of 18 and 75 and at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. They must also be able to read and comprehend English, and have a BMI between 25 and 45 kg/m2.


Who should not participate?

The program might not be appropriate for all individuals. Patients will not be eligible to participate in the Small Steps for Big Changes program if they:

  1. have a heart condition and have been advised by you to limit physical activity.
  2. have chest pain when performing any physical activity.
  3. lose their balance or consciousness because of dizziness.
  4. have bone or joint problem (for example, back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by a change in physical activity.
  5. hypertension that is not controlled by medication (systolic blood pressure (BP) >160 mmHg and/or diastolic BP >99 mmHg).
  6. have type 2 diabetes.
  7. have had a change in medications (e.g., statins, acarbose, anti-depressants) in the previous 3 months.
  8. have prior history of cardio- or cerebrovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or stroke.
  9. are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 12 months.
  10. have uncontrolled major depressive episodes.

Have questions about eligibility? Please Contact Us