A new project which aims to prevent type 2 diabetes has been launched this month in the borough of Rochdale.

The Healthier You National Diabetes Prevention Programme is a 12-month intensive programme that identifies adults at risk of developing diabetes and helps them make changes to their lifestyles to prevent it and other related diseases.

According to Public Health England estimates, there are currently 16,340 people living with diabetes in the borough. A further 4,781 are known to be at risk of developing the disease.

The borough is one of 17 sites chosen to implement the first wave of the £60 million national scheme, following a successful pilot. Rochdale will join Bury as the two Greater Manchester implementers.

Councillor Janet Emsley, Rochdale Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, health and wellbeing, said: “Being chosen to implement this programme is fantastic news for our borough. Helping people to help themselves lead healthier lives is so important and this scheme will not only go a long way to reducing diabetes and associated diseases such as heart and kidney disease, but it will also improve the wellbeing and community spirit of our borough as a whole.”

Dr Sonal Sharma, clinical lead for diabetes at Heywood Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Research from Public Health England states that five million people in England have blood Glucose levels indicating high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. We are delighted to be part of the National Diabetes Prevention Programme as we understand it is difficult for people to lose weight, exercise and eat healthy without any support and this intense programme will provide the help required to make their health the number one priority.”

Based on successful international models, the national diabetes prevention programme is a joint project between Public Health England, NHS England and Diabetes UK.

It will see 2,200 people, identified by GPs as at risk, receiving education about weight management, diet, healthy cooking and physical activity. Participants in the borough of Rochdale will attend classes, run by social enterprise Health Exchange (Living Well Taking Control), in community settings such as parks, community centres and libraries in one of the four townships.
Attendees will be paired with like-minded facilitators and classmates to help them feel comfortable and get the most out of the sessions. Friends and carers of attendees can also join the sessions to provide support. Following the sessions it is hoped that residents will attend local support services, exercise classes and wellbeing groups to continue their good work as well as giving back to their communities in any way they can.

Sue Turton, from Living Well Taking Control, said: “We will be working to improve understanding and increase confidence, which can empower and motivate people to take control of their health. We know that it can be difficult for people, but we have a proven track record of success with our programme and look forward to supporting those who are at risk to make healthier choices about how they exercise and what they eat – and ultimately to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes.”

It is estimated that the pioneering scheme could save the borough up to £500,000 as well as improving the health of the borough.

The scheme will run for 2 years and initial referrals will be taken from GPs’ pre-diabetes registers. Once a patient has been referred they will be enrolled for 9 months and the programme will ensure that support with lifestyle changes and psychological support is continually available. The second phase will launch in April 2017 where referrals will be taken from NHS Health Checks.


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