NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme achieving great results in the West Midlands
Margaret is one of 2,716 Birmingham, Sandwell & Solihull residents in the region to benefit from the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme; a free personalised tailored service for people at risk of Type 2 diabetes. The programme provides advice on eating healthily, being more active and losing weight. A lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight are all risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Margaret is now urging others in the West Midlands to check whether they may be at risk of the disease and take action on improving their own health.
It is estimated that around 152,986 people in Birmingham, Sandwell & Solihull are currently at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes; which can lead to other serious conditions including strokes, heart disease, limb amputation and early death.
Over 8,934 people have already been referred onto the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in Birmingham, Sandwell & Solihull.
Nationally, diabetes and its complications cost over £6 billion every year to treat and one in six patients in hospital has diabetes. Around nine out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes which is closely linked to obesity and yet is largely preventable by making simple lifestyle changes around diet, activity levels and weight management.
Margaret was referred to the diabetes prevention programme after a routine check-up with her GP at which her blood sugar was identified as being high. She has just completed the 7 week education phase of the course and is awaiting her first follow up.
Margaret said she came onto the programme with a negative view, thinking she already knew what she needed to do and wouldn’t learn anything. However, following the education phase she has learned a great deal about healthy eating and the types of food that release energy slowly and keep her feeling fuller for longer. She also learned how to control her portion sizes and to pay more attention to food labels and look out for hidden salt and sugar.
Participation in the programme has made a big difference to Margaret’s health and wellbeing. It has helped her to understand what to eat and what to avoid.
“By taking the advice and guidance given on the programme, I feel a lot healthier, I’m more active and my clothes are now hanging off me!”
Margaret is really happy at reaching a healthy weight. She is also confident that her blood sugar levels will have decreased at her follow up.
“I’ve made a lot of simple changes to my diet, such as having grilled food instead of fried, steamed veg instead of chips and wholemeal Ryvita instead of bread.”
The LWTC Facilitator said that being involved with the LWTC programme has increased Margaret’s knowledge and confidence to shop for healthier foods and check the food labels. By understanding the complications of developing Type 2 Diabetes such as loss of vision, nerve damage, kidney failure and even amputation of limbs, Margaret is now motivated to stay healthy. Margaret is a lot more confident to make informed choices because she has a broader knowledge and understanding of diabetes, eating healthy, being active and positive mental wellbeing.
When asked about additional benefits of the programme, Margaret said:
“I was a very shy person and wasn’t confident to speak up thinking I might say something wrong. The sessions were delivered in a gentle manner, I was made to feel comfortable and not put under pressure to speak. A few simple questions were asked as to how we got on with the goals we set and changes we made around our health. It was at that point that I started to speak up and started to come out of my shell. I was fully participating and engaging in group discussions after week 3. It’s amazing to feel confident and speak up when you have always been known to be quiet.”
GPs and other healthcare professionals in the West Midlands are using Diabetes Prevention Week, which starts today, to urge residents to find out if they are at risk and take action to improve their future health.
You can check to see if you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes at diabetes.org.uk/risk.