As part of Diabetes Prevention Week (16-22 April), St Helens residents are being urged to eat healthily and be more active in order to help reduce their risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
It is estimated that just over 17,000 people in St Helens are currently at risk of developing type 2 diabetes; which can lead to other serious conditions including strokes, heart disease, limb amputation and early death.
Diabetes and its complications costs over £6 billion every year to treat and one in six patients in hospital has diabetes. Around nine out of 10 people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes which is closely linked to obesity and yet is largely preventable by eating healthily, being more active and losing weight.
To help people reduce their risk of diabetes, the Diabetes Prevention Programme is running in St Helens. The programme is for those who are diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and helps them to make small changes to their lifestyle such as getting more active and eating healthier which will in turn reduce their risk.
The programme runs group sessions; one of the first groups who have been through the programme have seen great results, with reduced blood sugar levels, weight loss and increased awareness of how to make lifestyle changes.
One participant said: “I was wary at first to sit in a group but felt comfortable from day one.
“Casper (the facilitator) was polite, helpful and cheerful and taught me many ways of eating healthy.”
Another added: “My experience on this programme has made a big difference to my life and I have learnt a lot.”
You can check to see if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes at diabetes.org.uk/risk.
For more information about the Diabetes Prevention Programme, speak to your GP.
The Healthy Living Team offer a wide range of services and activities to help people make positive lifestyle changes; visit www.healthysthelens.co.uk or call 0300 300 0103.