A Nottingham man has said he is absolutely determined to turn his life around after being offered the chance to take part in a diabetes prevention programme. An Engineering Support Technician at the university’s School of Physics and Astronomy, Andy Solomon wants people to know it is never too late to make vital lifestyle changes.

The 63-year-old said, “Your health is so important, so when I was told that I could be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, I knew I had to do something but I didn’t know where to start.”

Andy’s GP referred him onto the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. The initiative, which started in the East Midlands in July 2016, will eventually be rolled out nationally. NHS England is funding this structured education programme to help people prevent or postpone developing
Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the UK’s biggest health challenges – there are currently 4.5 million people in the UK who have diabetes, mainly Type 2, but that could rise to 5 million if the problem is not tackled, Public Health England recently said. More than 2,000 people have already been referred onto the educational programme where participants receive tailored support to help them make positive changes to their diet, weight and the amount of physical activity they do. The aim is to significantly reduce the risk of, or even stop them, developing Type 2 diabetes.

Andy claims that taking part has already made considerable differences to his life. When he started he weighed nearly 16 stone (100kg) but he has lost some weight, has more energy and feels far most positive about his future. “This really is an excellent programme. I have always been conscious about what I eat, but it’s taught me new things about foods and what to avoid if possible. I am absolutely determined to get out of the risk group and take more exercise, eat better and change my lifestyle just a little bit to help me stay healthy.”

The sessions are led by educators, whose job is to show people how they can improve their health by making achievable lifestyle changes. Amy Gouldstone from Ingeus, who leads the Nottingham groups, said, “The older you get, the harder it can be to make changes, but the people we are seeing have already made that decision. Those on the programme are generally losing weight, feeling more energised and thankful that they’ve been given the opportunity to steer clear of Type 2 diabetes. It really does make a difference.”