Prevention of diabetes

Education and lifestyle coaching to be used to combat rise in type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on December 28, 2016

Tens of thousands of more people at risk of type 2 diabetes in the UK are to be offered tailored support to avoid the potentially life threatening condition, it has been announced.

Like many countries around the world, the UK is facing a steep rise in case of type 2 diabetes which can be avoided with lifestyle changes and now the National Health Service (NHS) is to expand a pioneering programme to offer education and coaching.

Prediabetes FitSome 50,000 will be offered courses and more money will also be allocated to funding more specialist nurses, providing diabetic foot care teams and a major evaluation of how digital technology such as apps and wearable technology could provide bespoke and easy to access support to many millions more people at risk.

‘The NHS is now upping its game on prevention, helping 50,000 high risk individuals stave off type 2 diabetes. Unless we also take back control of our own health, 2017 is going to mean another 200,000 people getting obesity related type 2 diabetes,’ said Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.

‘It doesn’t have to be that way as small lifestyle changes prevent large life altering health problems. Eating a bit less and losing five to 10 pounds is far more useful than an unused gym membership or wildly ambitious New Year’s resolution,’ he explained.

He is appealing to parents to do something if their children are overweight as new figures show that nine in 10 cannot recognise when their kids are overweight. ‘We’re going to need a bit more tough love so that every day of the year isn’t a Christmas-like splurge on supersized fizzy drinks and junk food,’ he added.

The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is run collaboratively by NHS England, Public Health England and charity Diabetes UK, and will support 100,000 people a year across the whole country by 2020 through tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.

The programme includes education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes, all of which have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, pointed out that every day around 65 people with diabetes die before their time. ‘This is way it’s so important we invest in preventing type 2 diabetes and improves care for people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes,’ he said.

‘We want this money to transform NHS care so that millions of people currently living with diabetes get the right support to manage their condition and avoid devastating complications such as blindness and amputations,’ he explained.

According to Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, believes that everyone should be worried that the number of people with type 2 diabetes is still on the rise. ‘Preventing it is one of the big health challenges of our time. We need to get the message across that diabetes is not an inevitable part of ageing and we can control what happens to our health,’ he said.

‘Making changes to our diets, especially cutting down on snacks high in sugar and saturated fat, and taking regular exercise is often all people need to do to avoid potentially devastating consequences to their long term health,’ he added.

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