National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, NHS England
Wearable tech devices and apps are allowing more thorough and frequent patient access to healthy lifestyle advice, with great success already being seen.
Diabetes and its complications costs over £10 billion every year to treat and one in six patients in hospital has diabetes. Around nine out of ten people with diabetes have Type 2, which is closely linked to obesity and there is strong evidence that, for many, it is preventable.
Education, motivation and bespoke programmes may help prevent Type 2.
A lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight are all risk factors for developing the disease. But there is help designed in the form of the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to stop or delay onset of Type 2 diabetes through a range of personalised lifestyle interventions. These includes education on lifestyle choices, advice on how to reduce weight through healthier eating and motivations to move with bespoke physical activity programmes.
From August this year, a digital version of the programme will be available; including wearable technologies and apps that have been launched to help those at risk of Type 2 diabetes. This tech is designed to help those who find it difficult to attend face-to-face sessions because of work or family commitments; widening access to the Healthier You service.
Recent projections show that the growing number of people with diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 people living with diabetes suffering a heart attack in 2035 and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England national clinical director of diabetes and obesity says: “Around two thirds of adults and one third of children are now overweight or obese, driving higher and higher rates of Type 2 diabetes. We are now focusing huge efforts to address, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.
“I’m delighted that our work so far in this area has been producing really positive results. The weight loss achieved and the programme’s ability to reach groups most at risk – including men and those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities – is very promising. We hope to help many more of those who are at risk of Type 2 diabetes to not get it in the first place.”