Digital diabetes prevention launched

Digital support will be offered to people who are susceptible to Type 2 diabetes to prevent them from getting the condition. These thousands of people are being helped in this way as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The initial schemes are offering 24/7 online support and advice, and so far the numbers of people getting involved in the Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP) are increasing.

The people will receive wearable devices that monitors exercise levels, apps that will help them access educational content and health coaches, and they will also get online support from peer support groups. The app will also allow them to set and track their goals and improvement electronically.

NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity Jonathan Valabhji, said: “The Diabetes Prevention Programme has been a tremendous success for thousands of people already, and this new digital pilot further builds on that success.

“I’m delighted to see such a positive response among younger working age people, which shows how a digital approach can expand the reach of patients’ services as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.”

4 million people in England have Type 2 diabetes, and it is one of the biggest public heath challenges the country and the NHS face. £6 billion gets spent annually on the condition and the complications that the disease causes. 9000 amputations are done every year, and one in 6 hospital beds in the country are occupied by a Type 2 diabetes patient.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, expanding and extending of the treatment of diabetes has top priority, but will also focus on prevention of ill health.

Thousands of people have lost a total weight of 132000 pounds with the help of the Diabetes Prevention Programme. The aim is to reach 200 000 people annually with the programme. Low calorie diets will also be trialled by the NHS to reverse Type 2.

5000 people were involved in the trials of the DPP and a few interesting facts emerged. 68% of those using the digital support were under the age of 65. The average age was 58 and 16% of digital registrations were between 18 and 44 years old.

Nikki Joule Policy Manager at Diabetes UK said: “With millions of people in the UK at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, it’s vital that the NHS England Diabetes Prevention Programme is able to reach as many people as possible.

“This pilot has shown that a digital version of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has the potential to encourage a wider range of people to participate.

“This could be vital in reaching more of the millions of people at risk of Type 2 diabetes, and in helping to reduce the increasing prevalence of the condition.

“The success of this pilot should lead to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’s digital offering being rolled out more widely.”

Dr Jennifer Smith Diabetes Programme Director Public Health England, said: “The success of the pilot’s early findings shows we are breaking new ground to help those most at risk of Type 2 diabetes to literally take their health into their own hands at their own time and pace.

“Many of us use on-the-go digital technology every day and this is a fabulous next step in diabetes prevention.”

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