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Interview with Dr Claire Marriott

Medical and Scientific Advisor, Roche Diabetes Care

Coaching could give people the right help at the right time to make the healthy lifestyle choices that count. Could this be a game changer for type 2 diabetes?


A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes can leave people feeling guilty and ashamed. The condition is often unfairly associated with an inactive, gluttonous lifestyle and this stigma can have a huge impact at an already difficult time.

This stigma can carry on far beyond diagnosis and can have a real impact on mental health. Assumptions are made about someone’s food choices or sedentary lifestyle and people can feel judged if they are having a tough time managing their blood glucose.

But rather than labelling someone who is struggling as ‘non-compliant’ or presuming they are not following medical advice, we need to look into ways to provide better support. Expecting someone to navigate the complex plethora of ‘dietary advice’ is tricky enough. Additionally, to know and to change are two very different things. Providing extra support and really understanding the challenges that an individual faces can be the key difference in helping them make a change.

Motivation, understanding and support for healthier behaviours

Adopting healthier behaviours can make a real difference for all of us, but in particular people living with Type 2 diabetes may have additional motivations. This can include reducing the risk of developing diabetes-related complications and for some, reduction of medication or even remission of Type 2 diabetes could be achievable. Even with this powerful incentive, it doesn’t mean it is necessarily easy to do, despite the will to do so.

Living with a long-term condition and all the ‘rules’ that go along with it can make it seem as though you are not the one in control. Understanding what can be changed, being supported to make that change and, importantly, not feeling responsible for what can’t be changed – such as your genetics or ethnicity – could be key in taking charge.

Mentoring encourages positive lifestyle changes

Behavioural coaching is an appealing way to support people with Type 2 diabetes. It offers a tailored level of support that understands where someone is on their journey to making positive lifestyle changes. It provides the information, advice and mentoring appropriate for them to manage their condition, in the ways that work best for them.

Dr Claire Marriott, Medical Affairs Lead for Roche Diabetes Care, believes this is a crucial element in successful care:

It’s about understanding what makes people ‘tick’. It’s not just the message that’s important, it’s how it is conveyed – the language, the tone. Behavioural coaching can support an individual to find their personal motivation and help them to start enjoying the food they love in a healthier way.

OurPath: Support every step of the way

Roche Diabetes Care, one of the longest standing players in diabetes management, has partnered with a start-up company, OurPath, to scale up their popular coaching-based lifestyle change programme. OurPath is one of five digital providers commissioned by the NHS to support lifestyle change in diabetes as part of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
Over a 12-week period, coaches help people to eat well, increase activity levels and understand how to manage negative thought patterns, setbacks, and challenges such as social situations and eating out. All interventions are designed to support sustainable and meaningful, healthy lifestyle changes.

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