By: Allison Soprovich and Jeff Johnson

Project Summary

Over the past year, we’ve partnered with the Alberta Retired Teachers Association (ARTA), working on their diabetes strategy. Back in February 2016, we conducted a Health & Wellness survey, intended to assess current health and wellness behaviours, activities and risk factors among ARTA members. As well, we asked for consent to anonymously link survey responses with data from Alberta Health. This will enable us to examine health care utilization and enrich our understanding of the health of the ARTA membership. For those who reported having diabetes, we asked extra questions about their self-care activities, quality of clinical care and complications.

2,514 people completed the survey. Highlights include:
• Most ARTA respondents are healthy – 69% report being in Excellent or Very Good health;
• Most respondents reported eating healthy, exercising daily, and were vaccinated against influenza;
• Respondents have good social support and very high food security;
• Few respondents smoke or feel depressed;
• 66% of respondents are considered overweight or obese (according to BMI);
• 33% of respondents have diabetes or are at high risk for developing diabetes;
• 82% of respondents are taking prescription medications; the average number is 3;
• 40% of respondents reported having arthritis – the top chronic disease reported, followed by high lipids (25%), back problems (24%), and cataracts (23%).

Among those who reported having diabetes (approximately 11%):
• 74% reported having their eyes checked in the past year;
• only 48% reported a health professional had checked their feet for sores or irritation, and only 40% had their feet checked for loss of feeling in the past year.

These results will help inform ARTA health and wellness program planning and health benefit plans. Currently, we are revising the survey to administer in 2017, aiming to have more respondents.