Apr 05 2011

MEND and Diabetes UK launch healthy lifestyle roadshow

MEND and Diabetes UK have launched their Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow this week to help people in the most deprived and ‘at risk’ areas in the country to find out more about diabetes, and discover whether they are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes2.

The roadshow aims to identify some of the estimated 860,000 people across the UK who have Type 2 diabetes but are not aware they do. This is vital because if the condition is not diagnosed early enough or left untreated, it can lead to devastating complications like stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. The roadshow is supported by the Big Lottery Fund and run in partnership with MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) an organisation that provides healthy lifestyle programmes to local families.

The roadshow raises awareness of risk factors for Type 2 diabetes which include being overweight or having a large waist, being aged over 40 (or over 25 in Black and South Asian people) and having a close relative with diabetes. At risk waist measurements are 37 inches or more for men, except those of South Asian origin who are at risk at 35 inches or more, and 31.5 inches or more for all women. The symptoms of diabetes include going to the toilet (urinating) more often and especially at night, increased thirst, extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss, genital itching or regular episodes of thrush, slow healing of cuts and wounds and blurred vision.

Diabetes UK staff will offer free diabetes risk assessment tests which predict a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the next ten years. If this risk is moderate to high, people will be referred to their GP for further advice or tests. People can also find out how to make healthy lifestyle changes by adopting a healthy diet low in fat, salt and sugar and taking regular physical activity. They will also be able to register for MEND’s healthy lifestyle programmes, to manage their weight and improve their health.

In 2010, Diabetes UK’s Roadshow programme carried out nearly 10,000 risk assessments and more than half of those people were referred to their local GP.

TV presenter Phillip Schofield of This Morning fame is backing the charity’s campaign. He said: “I am delighted to be supporting the Diabetes UK Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow which is aiming to find some of the 850,000 people in the UK who have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know they do.

“My mother and brother both have diabetes so I know firsthand how it can impact a person and their family’s life. As diabetes runs in my own family I ensure that my family and I try to lead a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. I would urge everyone to visit one of Diabetes UK’s Roadshows this year to discover if they could be one of the 850,000 who don’t know they have Type 2 diabetes and to find out more about the condition.”

Jill Steaton, Diabetes UK South East Regional Manager said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing us today. It’s frightening that there are more than 860,000 people in the UK that have Type 2 diabetes but have no idea they do. I would urge everyone who can to visit Diabetes UK’s Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow. It could be the best thing you ever do for your health. ”

Diabetes UK and MEND have been awarded £413,722 from the Big Lottery Fund to support 70 roadshows in England during 2011 and 2012.

Local people unable to attend the Roadshow can still test whether they are at risk of diabetes by taking the free Diabetes UK Risk Score test online at www.diabetes.org.uk/roadshow/riskscore1. If after taking the test they are found to be at moderate or high risk of developing the condition they should visit their GP.


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For further media information or casestudies please contact [press lead] on [direct line] or the Diabetes UK Media Relations Team on 0207 424 1165 or email pressteam@diabetes.org.uk.

For urgent out of hours media enquiries only please call 07711 176 028. ISDN facilities available.

For MEND case studies please contact Claire Nevill on 0207 231 7225 or at claire.nevill@mendcentral.org


Notes to editor:

1    Diabetes UK is the leading charity for over 3.5 million people in the UK with diabetes  In 2011, Diabetes UK aims to spend over £6 million on diabetes research to investigate the causes and prevention of diabetes, to improve care and treatment of diabetes and ultimately to work towards a cure. For more information visit www.diabetes.org.uk. In the UK, there are currently 2.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes and it is estimated that 850,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but do not know it.
2    Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). Insulin acts as a key unlocking the cells, so if there is not enough insulin, or it is not working properly, the cells are only partially unlocked (or not at all) and glucose builds up in the blood. Type 2 diabetes accounts for between 85 and 95 per cent of all people with diabetes, usually affects people over 40 (over 25 in people from South Asian and Black backgrounds) and is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition to this, medication and/or insulin is often required. In most cases the condition is linked with being overweight and can go undetected for up to ten years meaning around 50 per cent of people show signs of complications by the time they are diagnosed.
3    Type 1 diabetes develops when insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed. This type of diabetes usually appears before the age of 40 and is the least common of the two main types and accounts for around 10 per cent of all people with diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, it is not known why it develops and it is not connected with being overweight. People with Type 1 diabetes have to take insulin either via a pump or by injections several times a day to stay alive.
4    The Big Lottery Fund distributes half of the National Lottery good cause funding across the UK. The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need.
5    One person is diagnosed with diabetes every three minutes in the UK. Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation if not managed in the correct way.      Diabetes, whether Type 1 or Type 2, is a serious condition.     Diabetes costs the NHS £1 million pounds an hour.     Almost one in 20 people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined.
6    The Diabetes UK Careline (0845 120 2960) offers information and support on any aspect of managing diabetes.  The line is a low cost number and opens Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (and operates a translation service). Recorded information on a number of diabetes-related topics is also available on this number 24 hours a day.
7    Supporting our work as a ‘Diabetes UK Supporting Member’ entitles you to a range of benefits including our regular magazine Balance, reliable information booklets on diabetes, our confidential Diabetes UK Careline, over 400 local Diabetes UK support groups, and access to an exclusive personalised ‘Supporting Members Area’ on our website.

8    About MEND:
•    MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) is a social enterprise that runs free, fun healthy lifestyle programmes for families with children aged between two and 13 years
•    Since it was founded in 2004, MEND has helped over 20,000 families to become fitter, healthier and happier by providing information about healthy eating and how to keep active
•    Developed in partnership with child health experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the University College London’s Institute of Child Health, independent research shows that the MEND 7-13 Programme helps children lose weight and improve their fitness and self-esteem
•    A National Third Sector Partner of the Department of Health’s Change4Life campaign, MEND’s free healthy lifestyle programmes are delivered across the UK by a range of public and private sector partners. www.mendcentral.org
 

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