DiabeatIT: a new idea to help young people to understand their type 2 diabetes risk



DiabeatIT is a new health campaign, created and driven by the Shropshire Young Health Champions scheme, which aims to highlight the dangers and risks of type 2 diabetes - one of the fastest-growing health issues in the UK.

Young Health Champion Laura Adamsonwho, who has type 1 diabetes - the variety of the condition which can't be caused by lifestyle but is much rarer, is behind the idea of DiabeatIT.

Laura, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was six, said: "The idea for DiabeatIT came to me when I was sitting in a restaurant and noticing what other young people were eating and drinking, including cake and fizzy drinks.

"I was worried that they didn't understand the risks they were running in eating and drinking these things. In particular, I wanted young people to understand the risks to their health by eating certain foods so that they can reduce the risk of having Type 2 Diabetes later in life."

"I couldn't avoid diabetes, but most other people do have a choice and can control the risks. I spoke to some of the other Young Health Champions, we came up with the idea of DiabeatIT and decided to promote the campaign in our local schools. We've produced some funky information packs to give out and are encouraging activities in school."

Shropshire Young Health Champions scheme consists of young people aged 11-25 and managed by Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group. DiabeatIT sets out three types of challenge:

  • Eat Well
  • Be Active
  • Have Fun

Young people will be challenged to make their own healthy alternative to popular foods such as burger and pizza. Or they can organise a sports event at school, or join in regular dance sessions.

The Young Health Champions have produced their own professional rap song and dance on a video, The DiabeaIT Shuffle:

The campaign has won backing from leading local doctors, including Dr Julian Povey, Lead GP and Clinical Director for Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Dr Povey said: "The incidence of Diabetes has risen alarmingly in just the last decade. It is something that as a society we need to tackle urgently, but education can play as important a role as clinicians like me. Most people at risk of Diabetes can help protect themselves by living a healthier lifestyle and it's important that people understand this from an early age."

"It's great that the Young Health Champions have launched this campaign because people of all ages are at risk, and if we can encourage people to care about their health when they are young, that will pay huge dividends in later life."

If you would like to find out more about DiabeatIT follow @ShropshireYHC on twitter.