NHS social media campaign aims to reduce new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in men aged over 40
The NHS has fast-tracked access to the Healthier You programme after research found that people are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 if they have type 2 diabetes
The new drive follows a successful national campaign in August last year which targeted Black and South Asian communities who are more at risk of type 2 diabetes from the age of 25.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity for the NHS in England, said: “The evidence is clear – obesity and type 2 diabetes significantly increase the risk that many of us face from Covid-19.
“And we already knew that for men over 40 in particular, the risk of type 2 diabetes steadily increases with age so it is crucial people in this group check their risk and get the right support.
“As we start to see signs of normal life returning, there has never been a better time to start living a healthier lifestyle and we want to support even more people to do this. If you think you are at risk, check your risk online – it is free and it could be life changing.”
More than 750,000 people have been referred and those completing the programme who were overweight or obese lost on average 3.6kg.
Public health minister Jo Churchill said: “We want to be a healthier nation and obesity is one of our biggest health challenges – Covid-19 has shown us it is vital we act now. This initiative between the NHS and Diabetes UK is designed to support people, particularly 40-year-old men, on how to avoid type 2 diabetes. Now is a great time to check your risk and do something about it.
“The government has recently announced £100 million to support people achieve and maintain a healthier weight, and this is another initiative to help. By working together, we can achieve our healthy weight strategy goals and halve the number of children living with obesity by 2030, protecting people and the NHS for a brighter future.”
John Harrison, 53, from Burton Joyce, Nottinghamshire, who lost 55kg through the programme, said: “I was determined that lockdown wouldn’t stop me from getting healthier. I got great support through video sessions and was able to drop from 127kg in 2019 to 72kg in just 14 months.
“The virtual get-togethers were really useful – the online contact enabled me to ask questions and keep my momentum going. My health coach was also so knowledgeable and gave me an awful lot to think about but deciding on which changes to introduce is down to the individual. After all, you are the best person to make those decisions about your own lifestyle.
“Now I am 72kg, my quality of life has really improved and these days I can do so much more without feeling exhausted. I can buy and wear fashionable clothes including skinny jeans.”
John made changes that included reducing his fat intake, cutting down on his red meat-based meals and increasing the amount of chicken and pulses in his diet. He also started a new exercise regime and now regularly does a fast power walk five times a week.
Read Lockdown guidance for staying home and safe for people living with diabetes during Covid-19 pandemic
DRWF operations during the Covid-19 health crisis
The DRWF team is working remotely. Covid-19 guidance, particularly where it aligns or impacts with diabetes guidance, is shared as quickly as possible through the DRWF website and social media channels with the aim of making it as easy to understand as possible and a reliable source of latest news.