When former engineer Robert Hutton was told the sugar levels in his blood were high, he was sceptical about the possibility he could be at risk of Type 2 diabetes. Robert knew he was in reasonable shape and he was fully enjoying his retirement.

However, a recent consultation with his GP changed his view and the 82-year-old, who lives in Buckinghamshire, decided to do something about it.

“I had assumed the relatively high readings from my blood tests were associated with my age, but I discovered this was not the case,” he said. “The consequences of diabetes were explained to me and, as with most challenges in life, I decided to make the most of the opportunity I had to try and steer clear of the disease.”

Robert signed up for support from the ten-month Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and immediately felt comfortable about his decision. He enjoyed being in the company of others who, like him, had opted to make what he viewed as relatively small lifestyle changes. He was also impressed by the approach of Ingeus educator Jane Trenchard, who led the group through the course.

“It’s really not been that difficult and I’ve learnt an awful lot about what I should eat and, probably more importantly, what I shouldn’t,” he added. “As Jane explained, we eat to live, not live to eat. Whilst I always have enjoyed my meals, I am now aware of what certain foods can do to my body.”

Robert is nearing the end of the programme and is delighted with the results.

“My blood sugar levels are down, I’ve lost a few pounds and I’ve gained a lot of energy. I feel so much better in myself and I’m far less tired. All in all, it’s been a great outcome!”

Jane recognised the efforts made by all those in her group, and complimented Robert on his achievements. “The Healthier You programme is all about empowering individuals to make their own lifestyle changes rather than a short-term fix. As educators, we facilitate these changes but Robert, along with many others, has taken on board all the information around physical activity and healthy eating from the sessions and decided to implement them in his daily routines. He has shown how small steps can be effective in reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and improving his health.”