Fylde Coast residents struggling with their resolutions to get fit and healthy this new year are being reminded of support they can get if they are at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Every two minutes someone finds out that they have Type 2 diabetes. There are 3.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK. This figure has more than doubled since 1996, when there were 1.4 million. The prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years1, with an estimated 4.8 million people living with the condition in the UK2. This increase is largely due to the rising number of cases of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time and some groups that are at a higher risk of developing it are:

  • People who are overweight or obese
  • Men
  • Those from some ethnic minority groups
  • Those with a family history

Fortunately, this time of year sees people making positive changes to improve their diet. But for those at risk of diabetes there is some extra support available from the NHS.

Those who are at risk can access the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP). The programme helps people at risk of Type 2 diabetes to reduce that risk by helping them to manage their weight, eat more healthily and be more active. The programme comes with a range of information and advice on weight loss, physical activity, cooking and nutrition that will all make a huge difference. You will be able to talk to other people using the service and can access telephone and online support from trained professionals too. Normally the programme involves a series of face to face group sessions but during the pandemic this has not been possible. Instead, the operators of the programme, Ingeus, has taken steps to set up virtual meetings using online technology.

Last year more than 250 people started the programme on the Fylde Coast, with those completing the programme losing an average of 3.4 kilograms each and reducing their risk of diabetes dramatically. Dr Neil Hartley-Smith a local GP and Clinical Director for the Fylde Coast CCGs, said:

“We have to remember that Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. One of the biggest manageable risks is obesity. On the plus side, people will be making lifestyle changes that will significantly reduce their risk as part of their New Year resolutions – and we can help them. The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme puts people in control of their own health by supporting them to lose weight through regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.

There are thousands of people across [area] who are believed to be at high risk of developing the potentially life-threatening condition and I would encourage people to check their risk and take action. We want to do all we can to support as many people as possible to prevent Type 2 diabetes from taking hold.”

The first thing you need to do is find out if you are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. You can do this by using Diabetes UK’s ‘know your risk tool’ at www.diabetes.org.uk/knowyourrisk.

From there you can also sign up to the Healthier You NHS diabetes prevention programme straight away or you can speak to your GP or practice nurse.

Across Lancashire and South Cumbria health and care organisations are asking people to do their bit to support their community this winter by encouraging those at risk of diabetes to eat a healthy diet as well as following other simple steps to staying well in winter. To find out more go to www.healthierlsc.co.uk/keepwellthiswinter.