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People in the West Midlands who are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes will now be able to sign themselves up online to join their free local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
This new service has been launched as part of a series of measures in response to COVID-19. Recent findings show that people with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19 but better management of the condition can help improve control and lead to better outcomes.
GP referrals have reduced due to a reduction in people presenting at their GP practice with symptoms and as a result of NHS Health Checks not being carried out as usual.
Over half a million people have been referred into the programme, and those completing the programme who were overweight or obese lost on average 3.6kg, greater than originally predicted.
People can now find out if they are eligible to join their local programme by completing the Diabetes UK risk tool at riskscore.diabetes.org.uk. Anyone who is identified as at moderate to high risk of Type 2 diabetes using the Diabetes UK risk tool, can sign up to the programme online. During the Covid-19 pandemic the programme is being delivered remotely via group video conference, or online through apps and websites.
Anyone who is unable to use the Diabetes UK risk tool to sign up, can still be referred by their GP practice.
Tariq Khan, a 35-year-old chef has found the NHS Healthier You programme to be the perfect recipe for a healthy lifestyle. Tariq was referred to the Healthier You programme; delivered by Ingeus at the Summerfield Community Sports Centre in Winson Green. The sessions, run by Ingeus health educator Jake Joyce, give participants practical advice aimed at healthier eating and living; proven techniques to decrease the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
By attending the programme Tariq lost more than 6kg in weight in just four months. “The support from the NHS has been fantastic,” says Tariq. “The programme has enabled me to get control of my health by making small changes to my lifestyle. I used to often eat very late at the restaurant, but my colleagues have been great at helping me to adjust and eat at a sensible time. I’ve also cut down on some carbohydrates and sweet treats.”
Tariq works at Jimmy’s Spices restaurant in Birmingham City Centre. He is delighted that the Healthier You classes are still continuing through video calls. “The video classes have been great because they are helping us with all the things that we can do at home,” says Tariq. “We have been advised not to be sitting at home for a long time and that small things really do make difference to staying healthy. Walking and exercises to keep moving the body and the muscles are really helping me to burn the calories at home.
“I would definitely recommend the Healthier You programme to everyone,” says Tariq. “It really does help to stop the diabetes threat in its tracks by reducing your weight, increasing the amount of physical activity that you do and improving your diet. Healthier You also gives you vital information on the way that your body works including the impact of sugars on the body which enables you to take back control of your health.”
Professor Azhar Farooqi, Co-Clinical Director for the Midlands Cardiovascular Disease and Respiratory Network and GP at East Leicester Medical Practice, said:
“Living with Type 2 diabetes is a daily challenge for millions of people and knowing they are more at risk if they are infected with coronavirus will be worrying, but the NHS has taken action to help people and keep them safe, including the opportunity to sign up to the Healthier You programme online. .
“Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes. The NHS’s highly successful, world-leading diabetes prevention programme is helping hundreds of thousands of people take small steps to get control of their own health.”
Dr B Rao, GP in Stoke and Clinical Lead for the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in Staffordshire, said:
“There are currently about five million people in England at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. If these trends persist, one in three people will be obese by 2034 and one in 10 will develop Type 2 Diabetes.
There is strong international evidence which demonstrates how behavioural interventions, which support people to maintain a healthy weight and be more active can significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition.
The ‘Healthier You’ Diabetes Prevention Programme is being offered to people who are at a higher risk of diabetes. The programme provides support to make lifestyle choices that can prevent type 2 diabetes. This includes advice on how to reduce weight, eat differently, and access local physical activities”
For more information on diabetes and what you can do to prevent it, visit the Healthier You website.