NHS Wales encourages people with and at risk of type 2 diabetes to invest in themselves this New Year

Hundreds of thousands of people who are living with type 2 diabetes ­– or at risk of developing the condition – in Wales are being urged to sign up for an award-winning digital educational programme this New Year.

Nearly 210,000 people in Wales are living with type 2 diabetes and a further 580,000 residents are suspected of being at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Since 2021, NHS Wales and Public Health Wales have commissioned the Leicester Diabetes Centre (LDC) to offer its gold-standard digital diabetes education programmes to help and support the people of Wales.

1,816 people with type 2 diabetes, and 1,880 people identified as at risk of type 2 diabetes, have since registered for these innovative programmes so far.

Luigi, 68, from Carmarthenshire has been using the Let’s Prevent Diabetes programme since June 2023 and explains: “This site is so engaging, offering great advice and direction for people like me, being pre-diabetic. I have learned so much from the site, as well as being far more aware of what I now eat and what I place in my mouth. I have certainly taken on board FAT = Frequency, Amount, Type. I love it. Thank you all for giving me this opportunity to benefit. It is a brilliant dashboard, even for a nearly 68-year-old.”

Alison Northern, Implementation Lead for the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: “Our digital programmes continue to make a difference for so many people, like Luigi, with and at risk of type 2 diabetes. With over 40,000 users on the platform, there is a great sense of community and peer support available for those registering for one of our programmes.

“We would encourage anyone living in Wales who has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or who has been identified at risk to sign up and become part of tour online community.”

Catherine Washbrook-Davies, All Wales Dietetic Lead for Diabetes and Diabetes Prevention, added: “The New Year is a great time to look to the future and where we can make small changes to our lifestyles to help improve our overall health. We continue to make these digital diabetes programmes available across Wales to provide consistent, evidence-based guidance and support for people with and at risk of type 2 diabetes.”

There are three digital diabetes programmes available for people in Wales, over the age of 18, to sign up to:

  1. MyDESMOND for anyone with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes,
  2. Let’s Prevent Diabetes for anyone at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and
  3. Babysteps for women who have a history of gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.

Feedback from users in Wales has shown:

  • 91 per cent of Welsh users said the programmes were easy to use
  • 89 per cent found the information valuable and 87% enjoyed using them
  • 80 per cent stating they have a better understanding of their diabetes/risk as a result of using one of these programmes,
  • 62 per cent were more active,
  • 74 per cent have made changes to their diet and
  • 43 per cent feel able to manage their stress better since registering.

All three programmes include a range of short videos (available in English, Welsh, Hindi and Bengali) articles and interactive activities as well as having the ability for users to track their health outcomes and physical activity levels. There is something for everyone on the programmes; users can even compete in weekly step challenges with other users or challenge themselves to remotely walk Land’s End to John O’Groats or the Great Wall of China. Chat forums are available, as well as an Ask the Expert function for any questions that remain unanswered. These are picked up by the multi-disciplinary team from the LDC including nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists, and physical activity experts.

To request access, please visit www.mydesmond.wales if you have type 2 diabetes or www.letspreventdiabetes.wales if you are at risk or have a history of gestational diabetes.

If you are unsure if you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, we would recommend visiting https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start and completing the risk score to find out.