Walking Away from Diabetes is a module for those "at risk", which supports the aims of the government’s vascular checks programme. It is a good example of a simple, but effective, intervention aimed at improving cardiovascular health.
With the vascular screening programme in the UK there is increasing pressure on healthcare organisations to identify and treat those at risk of vascular disease, such as Type 2 diabetes.
A central requirement of this module is to offer ‘at-risk’ individuals appropriate lifestyle counselling and education which supports positive behaviour change. Whilst there is clear evidence that lifestyle interventions can successfully reduce the risk of progressing to Type 2 diabetes by 30%-60% in ‘high risk’ individuals, there are several limitations when it comes to translating this research into practice.
The best performing diabetes prevention programmes have involved multiple and intensive 1:1 counselling appointments, an approach that is unfeasible in a UK ‘real-world’ health care setting. And although some traditional lifestyle counselling programmes are cost-effective in the long- term, they would place a crippling effect on healthcare organisations in the short-term if implemented at regional or national level.
So, although intensive diabetes prevention programmes are academically interesting and were necessary to prove the efficacy of lifestyle change, they have limited translational relevance. As a result, we are now seeing a new generation of programmes designed specifically to take account of the infrastructure and resources available to national healthcare providers. These make use of existing strategies for promoting self-management, including those used in a variety of patient groups.
One of these programmes is PREPARE (Pre-diabetes risk education and physical activity recommendation and encouragement). Developed by the Diabetes Research Unit at the University Hospitals of Leicester in the UK, it consists of a 6-hour group-based educational session.
The programme was based on the approach to fostering self-management as currently recommended in the UK for all individuals with Type 2 diabetes. It promotes behaviour change, and has a track record of being compatible with the infrastructure and resources available to the NHS.
Following a successful scientific study, PREPARE has gone on to form the basis of a larger randomised controlled trial, and provided with a complementary training programme for educators ready for national implementation. This is called "Walking Away" and is ready and available for you "at risk" population.
“Having taken part as an early adopter of Walking Away, Cumbria has now made the programme available across the whole county – a population of approximately half a million people. Our roll-out begins in April 2012. Personally, I’m excited about the prospect of being able to offer an evidence based, relatively low cost structured education programme for people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Walking away has the potential to impact on the rising prevalence of Type 2 diabetes by empowering high risk individuals to reduce their future diabetes risk via behaviour change and supported self management.” -
Dr Robert Westgate GP clinical lead for Diabetes for Cumbria
To find out more or to request a visit to see how this intervention can make a difference to your local population.
Bernie Stribling- National DESMOND Manager
DESMOND National Office
7 Hospital Close
Leicester LE5 4WP
Tel: 0116/ 2585881
Mobile: 07971 426592