Well known community voices including TV personality and celebrity chef Levi Roots, singer, songwriter and actress Alexandra Burke and media medic Dr Zoe Williams have joined forces to get behind the inaugural campaign from the NHS urging black people to prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes.
The call out, which is also supported by the Medical Association of Nigerians Across Great Britain, Nigerian Nurses Charity Association UK, Somali Nursing & Midwifery Group, Ghana Nurses Association and the British Islamic Medical Association comes as we are reminded that black people are three times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than white people and that if left untreated, it can lead to blindness, kidney failure, loss of a limb and it also increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.
The campaign is asking black people to know their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes through using the ‘Know Your Risk’ tool hosted by Diabetes UK. Anyone at moderate or high risk of developing the condition may be eligible to join their local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, a joint initiative from NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and Diabetes UK. The programme supports people to make positive changes to their diet, weight and the amount of physical activity they do – to significantly reduce the risk of developing this disease.
TV Doctor, GP and physical activity expert Dr Zoe Williams who has a particular interest in issues stemming from diabetes and diet said: “Although the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is higher in people who are black, it is not usually a given and in many cases can be prevented. Making changes to what types of food you eat and the amount of physical activity you do can significantly reduce your risk. The first step is to find out more about your risk and the simple changes you can make.”
Talking from experience, British Nigerian entrepreneur, influencer and fashion mogul, Ivie Ruth Ekong, popularly known as Ivy Ekong has mentioned: “Watching my mum manage her life with Type 2 diabetes, until she passed away in 2019, resulted in me making a deliberate effort to live a healthier life. This has influenced me both personally and professionally – as an influencer I have focused my efforts on recommending eating healthier, exercising regularly, and taking care of one’s physical and mental well-being in general. Knowing your risk sooner can make a big difference for you and your loved ones.”
Alexandra Burke, Celebrity Supporter of Diabetes UK, said: “Black people are more at risk of type 2 diabetes, but so few of us know about it and are able to act. Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for years, and for some, the diagnosis is only made when complications have already developed. I know first-hand the devastating effects that diabetes can have on a family, and if I can convince even one person to find out their risk of type 2 diabetes – it would be worth it.”
“So please if you do only one thing today, visit the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool and find out your risk. The tool is completely free and all you will need is access to internet and a tape measure. Together we can help each other in the fight against diabetes.”
The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has continued through the pandemic via video calls and is also available digitally using websites and apps.
To find out your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, visit: www.diabetes.org.uk/knowyourrisk.