NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – The Healthier You

NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – The Healthier You

Introduction 

Hi, my name is Penny, and I am a research scientist at Future Genetics.

I attended the annual National Association of Primary Care Conference that was held at the NEC earlier this month.

It was a great event which encouraged discussion and debate around management of patients in a primary care setting.

In this article, I am going to summarise one of the presentations that particularly stood out for me. I think its message is well-aligned to the ethos and principle of Future Genetics, and this is EMPOWERMENT. One of the ways for people and individuals to become empowered is to understand the drivers and risk factors associated with diseases such as Diabetes.

Dr Chirag Bakhai gave a presentation titled NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme – The Healthier You. This succulently highlighted the alarming statistics associated with disease.

In my article, I have summarised the key points, and hope this will EMPOWER the listener or reader to be proactive and take actions to avoid poor outcomes.

Diabetes – Background Information

Type 2 diabetes more likely develops in males, people over 40, certain ethnicities, those with high blood pressure and sedentary lifestyles. However, 80% of cases are linked to obesity. Type 2 diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, amputations, heart disease, strokes and early death.

Prevalence of diabetes has doubled in the last 10 years, costing the NHS billions. The Healthier You programme was created to prevent diabetes development from prediabetes; a state of hyperglycaemia. Prediabetes implies inevitability of development; however, lifestyle intervention can slow or even halt the progression.

The Healthier You Programme 

The programme is available to most except children, pregnant women or diabetics. It is a free, 16 session treatment plan which takes 9-12 months to complete, it’s tailored to the individual involving psychological training to make lasting behaviour changes to increase levels of physical activities, improve nutrition and maintain a healthy weight.

It’s available throughout the whole of the UK and they’re on target to have 100k participants by 2020 as 54% of referrals attend the meetings. 45% are under 65, allowing for early assessment and intervention but more attend if they’re past working age. There are 44% male participants, a higher proportion than in commercial weight loss programmes and those who attend more than 60% sessions, lose on average 3.3kg, exceeding to predicted 2.5kg weight loss.

Limitations

The need for face-to-face interaction at meetings is a restriction for people with modern-day busy schedules and so digital meetings may be offered instead, but these have been found to be less effective. To broaden their client capacity, more funding is required, however the programme is predicted to save the NHS money in the long run.

The Battle Continues…

As beneficial as this programme is, more is required to tackle type 2 diabetes, by public health working with the food industry to minimise processed foods, refined carbs, excessive calories and portion sizes. Tackling obesity in schools will also significantly reduce the risk of prediabetes developing in the first place.

At Future Genetics, we are committed to trying to make a real difference to people and patients with respect to health outcomes. One of our principle research programmes is around diabetes and finding genetic markers that can meaningfully improve health outcomes for people.

Thank you or watching and for some of you, reading.

Pictured: Penny Codd (Future Genetics Research Scientist) at the NAPC Annual Conference 2018 

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