The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme was launched in 2016 and, so far, 1,000 people have benefitted from the support it offers by adopting achievable lifestyle changes to help improve their health. The programme is delivered in Leeds by Ingeus.
Amongst those who signed up for support at the start of the initiative is Valerie Bailey, 56, from Potternewton. She first became aware she had a higher probability of Type 2 diabetes when, aged 31, she was expecting her first child. During a more recent health check, the risk was highlighted once again and, this time, Valerie decided she was going to do something about it.
“I was referred by my GP and welcomed the opportunity because I knew that not doing anything meant a high chance my health would suffer and a have significant impact on my life,” said Valerie. Her Caribbean parents and grandmother all had diabetes and she saw at first-hand how their lives were affected by the disease. “Whilst I had previously put off the decision to take action, the advice of my doctor kept ringing in my ears this time and I knew the time was right to do something about it now.”
Valerie learnt how to identify high-risk foods, how more exercise can be really beneficial, and how simple, achievable actions can make all the difference. Participants are also invited to have the sugar levels in their blood measured during the course of the programme to ensure what they are doing is having a positive, measurable result.
“I’ve not found it challenging at all to stick to my individual plan,” added Valerie. “I am one of 12 people on my particular programme, and all of us have been surprised at how easy it is to follow the advice we have been given. Mine is to take more exercise, know what to look for on food labels and be more careful in what I eat. Being at risk of Type 2 diabetes is not all about being overweight – that’s not me. However, there are positive and achievable things I can do to bring down my risk, and that’s what I am determined to do.”
Valerie’s course is being led by Tasha Youngman, who’s a Healthier You educator from Ingeus, which delivers the contract in Leeds on behalf of the NHS. “The first question we ask our participants is whether they want to change their lifestyle to remain healthy. Almost everybody does, and so we show there are ways of doing just that. Over the course of ten months, those at risk of developing diabetes can take real, positive steps to make changes, and as a result live longer healthier lives. That’s our objective and Valerie, along with so many other participants over the past year, is a great illustration of how the course is making a difference.”
There are currently 3.8 million people with Type 2 diabetes in England , and it’s estimated that over five million people in England are at high risk of developing the disease.  The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme will have full coverage across England by 2020. By then, up to 100,000 people will have access to its services each year.
For more information about Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme please visit www.ingeus.co.uk
 NCVIN, Diabetes Prevalence Model, September 2016
 NCVIN, unpublished prevalence estimates of non-diabetic hyperglycaemia by LA