World Diabetes Day

Every two minutes in the UK sees one person discovering that they have diabetes. This is 700 people every day.

These are some of the statistics highlighted by World Diabetes Day (14 November 2017).

Healthier You: the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme launched in Luton and Bedfordshire in May. It is a joint commitment from NHS England, Public Health England and the charity Diabetes UK.

It aims to help people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. A blood test with your GP practice, can help to avoid the potentially devastating disease.

Clinical director for Planned Care for Luton Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP, Dr. Chirag Bakhai, said:

“On World Diabetes Day, we want to raise awareness of the Healthier You programme and its hands-on support to help people avoid Type 2 diabetes.”

Free of charge test

So far, more than 3,500 people have been referred on to the programme, available free-of-charge on the NHS.

Its sessions cover nutrition, exercise and suggested behavioural changes. All elements needed to maintain a healthy weight and become more physically active.

Health specialist Ingeus delivers the NHS England commissioned programme across the region.

Type 2 diabetes usually appears in middle-aged or older people. Although, it is increasingly diagnosed in younger overweight people.

It occurs when the body is not controlling blood sugars properly. This is usually because it is not responding well to the insulin it is making.

This is often related to excess weight as fat tissue tends to reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

Lifestyle changes can help

Lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing diabetes and reduce high blood sugars. Raj Vadhia, a 65-year-old man from Luton, was referred by his GP to Healthier You: the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in August.

He said:

“Since retiring in January, I haven’t been as active as when I was at work all day and the pounds had started to pile on.

“When my GP identified high blood glucose levels it was no surprise and I knew that I needed to do something proactive to help myself.”

Lost weight

Raj began attending Healthier You group sessions at Hockwell Ring Community Centre with Ingeus educator, Michael Bellamy.

“It was really good meeting people in a similar situation and Michael’s support has already paid off.”

“I’ve lost five kilograms and my blood sugar level has returned to a normal level. The sessions have really helped, we’ve covered elements of food preparation, portion control, and how to take simple steps to become more active.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the good work.”

Raj Vadhia & Michael Bellamy - World Diabetes Day 2017

Know your risk

Assess your own risk of developing diabetes, use the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool. If you are between 40 and 75 years without any known cardiovascular disease, accept your five-yearly invitation for a free NHS Health Check.


Healthier You: the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme sessions

In Luton regular sessions run at:

In Bedfordshire, sessions are available at:

Sessions help to make changes less challenging

Ingeus educator, Michael Bellamy, said:

“It can be challenging to make changes to your routine but the Healthier You programme gives people the confidence and inspiration to take control and reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The rewards are great and can lead to a much healthier life.”


Dr. Chirag Bakhai said:

“Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney disease and leg problems requiring amputation. It also roughly doubles the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“Worryingly, more people than ever are developing the condition, despite it being potentially preventable through regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight.”


Visit your GP for more information about Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. Also information is available at