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Talks on type 2 diabetes self-management programme to tackle health inequalities

Lorraine, a lady who talks about her experiences of living with diabetes during the talk

A healthy eating and physical activity programme created with, and for, people of African and Caribbean heritage living with type 2 diabetes, was the subject of an inspiring talk for colleagues at NIHR Leicester BRC.

Professor Louise Goff, who joined the Leicester BRC in April 2023, shared the story of the development of HEAL-D and her plans to evaluate its effectiveness on a larger scale later this year.

Louise is an academic dietitian specialising in the role of diet and lifestyle in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, with a particular interest in tackling health inequalities among minority ethnic groups. She said: “Tackling ethnic inequalities in type 2 diabetes is a global healthcare priority.

“In populations of Black African and Caribbean ethnicity, rates of type 2 diabetes are around three times higher than in populations of White European ethnicity, and it develops, on average, ten years earlier.

“Poor access to diabetes healthcare is a significant issue for minority ethnic groups. Specifically, Black communities report that healthcare professionals lack cultural understanding and their advice lacks relevance, or is poorly adapted to their needs.”

In the NIHR funded study carried out with Louise’s former colleagues at Kings College London from 2019 – 2022, the team worked closely with people with type 2 diabetes, faith and community leaders and healthcare professionals in Black African and Caribbean communities in London.

Together, they co-created, and then evaluated participation in a healthy eating and physical activity self-management programme, known as HEAL-D. The HEAL-D programme provided guidance on food types, portion sizes and types of activity that were culturally relevant and achievable.

“We have shown through HEAL-D that it is possible to engage people with a culturally tailored type 2 diabetes self-management programme. We look forward to taking HEAL-D forward to a trial to evaluate its clinical- and cost-effectiveness.”