Maypole Methodist Church Group made mango and avocado salsa

Pre-Diabetes Course: numbers stay up as blood sugar levels go down

Maypole Methodist Church Group made mango and avocado salsa!Our first Pre-Diabetes Course clients are now six months into the course, and are starting to see the results of their hard work.

We have been really pleased to hear that everyone who’s been back to the doctor to have their blood tested so far has seen an improvement in their HbA1c level (their level of glycated haemoglobin).

But that’s not all. A lot of our clients are losing weight, too – like Mick (pictured below) who’s lost two stone already!

Mick says:

It’s going well and I’m losing weight – 11 stone now down from 13. My trousers are all getting loose! I’m keeping control of my diet and exercising regularly.

Gateway’s Pre-Diabetes Course, which is commissioned by Birmingham South Central CCG who are a Demonstrator site for the National Diabetes Prevention Programme, is for people who have been referred by their doctor because they are at risk of becoming diabetic. The course, which runs for nine months, is designed to get people thinking about diet and exercise, and making lifestyle changes that will help them to become healthier.

Mick, on the left in this picture, has lost two stone since starting the course
Mick, on the left in this picture, has lost two stone since starting the course

Amongst other things, we show people what to look out for when shopping and cooking, and give them as much information as possible to help them make healthier choices.

It’s not just about getting people’s blood sugar levels dropping – although of course this is the result we’re most interested in – it’s about long term behaviour changes.

We have been targeted to work with 750 people during the pilot year, and 614 have already been referred. The retention rate is good, with 91% of patients attending at least five of the initial six weekly sessions.

And why do we think people are staying on the course? We think it’s because the sessions are interesting and very hands-on.

People in the Kings Norton groups decided they'd like to get active by going for walks together, so that's what they did! Thanks to Friends of Kings Norton Park for the photo.
People in the Kings Norton groups decided they’d like to get active by going for walks together, so that’s what they did! Thanks to Friends of Kings Norton Park for the photo.

We offer a range of practical activities, like cooking sessions (last week, Maypole Methodist Church Group 1 learned how to make a healthy mango and avocado salsa!) but we also let the groups themselves lead and suggest new activities.

For example, when clients from our Kings Norton groups suggested they’d like to start walking more, we supported them to set up a walking group in Kings Norton Park. They met a couple of weeks ago and had a great time, as you can see from the picture!

Feedback from clients suggests that meeting in a group, but with the addition of one-to-one support [from a para-professional], has been particularly helpful.

Here’s a selection of just some of the comments we’ve received from clients so far:

“The service was wonderful. I have learnt so much about my health. I found the one to one talks very helpful.”

“Meeting other people with the same goals has been great.”

“The group support is really good. Very enjoyable and informative – makes you really think.”

“This course has made me hopeful to remain healthy.”

And finally, we thought you’d like to hear from Yvonne, who kindly let us film her chatting about her experiences, back in [January], on the “first walk I’ve had in ages”!

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