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NHS uses gadgets to combat Type 2 diabetes crisis

15 November 2017 08:56

Around 63% of Brits are overweight, the OECD has said

Around 63% of Brits are overweight, the OECD has said

Obese people are to be given fitbit-style wristbands to reduce the number of Type 2 diabetes diagnoses.

Gadgets are being given to 5,000 patients to track their levels of activity as part of a pilot scheme, according to Public Health England.

The 'next logical step'

The 12-month trial will run across eight areas of the UK and if successful will be rolled out across the country.

The initiative marks "the next logical step in diabetes prevention", the health body has said.

Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, said: "So much else in our lives is now about online social connection and support, and that now needs to be true too for the modern NHS.

"This new programme is the latest example of how the NHS is now getting practical and getting serious about new ways of supporting people stay healthy."

The NHS will use a Buddi Nujjer device - technology that measures exercise levels, sleep patterns and diet.

A major public health challenge

Around 2.9 million people in England have Type 2 diabetes, and you are more likely to develop the condition if you are obese or overweight.

Britain is the most obese nation in Western Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has said.

The OECD says almost two thirds (63%) of Brits are overweight, and obesity rates have doubled over the past two decades.

To support the project, those involved in the scheme will also receive personal coaching sessions and educational software aimed at developing positive eating habits and activity behaviours.

"Tackling obesity and the rising prevalence of Type 2 diabetes are the major public health challenges of our time," says Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for obesity and diabetes.

He added: "Through this initiative, we have the potential to establish the effectiveness of digital interventions to do the same, so that the reach of the programme will be even greater."

Anyone with a medical problem related to their weight can still enjoy overseas holidays and trips abroad by taking out medical travel insurance.