Reducing the consumption of sugar in the diet, in particular in young people, is essential in the fight against the growing trend of early-onset type 2 diabetes. While the benefits of healthy eating are undisputed there is a challenge in educating and motivating individuals to change.
The lifetime risk of complications associated with diabetes is exacerbated in young-onset patients. Therefore effective intervention strategies are needed. However, the most successful of current initiatives are comparatively expensive and resource heavy. New NICE proposals include recommendations that everyone avoid drinks with sugar in. The challenge lies in helping people to understand the importance of this, and to support them towards a successful lifestyle change.
This project began in 2014 and is ongoing.
The aim of this project was to develop an educational resource to engage and educate young people with the health risks associated with type 2 diabetes and to identify novel motivational tools to assist in achieving and maintaining weight-loss by reducing sugar intake.
In collaboration with the Hastings branch of StreetGames, a national sports charity, we have begun to discuss health messages with young volunteers. The Diabetes Research Group in Hastings have hosted a Public Health Level 1 course and from this are working with course participants to develop a tool which could be used by the volunteers to help discuss health messages with their peers.
We are now collecting real-time blood glucose profiles from healthy volunteers in order to better understand glucose metabolism in response to different food types in different individuals. This project is also trialling different mobile applications as recording methods in order to optimise planning for a larger trial.
This project has been funded by the Hastings Exchange SEED Fund with additional financial support from the Hastings Campus.