• Wednesday, June 12, 2024

HEALTH

Diabetes UK, Tesco urge men under 40 to get tested for type 2 diabetes risk

‘Men under 40 were most likely to take action to improve their health if they experienced a health scare or received advice from a healthcare professional’

Analysis of NHS data conducted by Diabetes UK and Tesco in the previous year revealed a faster increase in cases of type 2 diabetes among those under 40 compared to those over 40 (Representative Image: iStock)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Diabetes UK and Tesco recently launched a campaign during Diabetes Prevention Week (22-28 May 2023), urging men aged 40 and under to take a free and simple check to assess their risk of type 2 diabetes.

The campaign emphasised the importance of proactive measures and not waiting for symptoms to appear.

Recent research commissioned by Diabetes UK and Tesco revealed that men under 40 were most likely to take action to improve their health if they experienced a health scare or received advice from a healthcare professional.

Recognising the increasing number of people under 40 developing type 2 diabetes, Diabetes UK and Tesco emphasised the need for younger individuals to be aware of their risk, even when the signs of the condition may not be obvious.

To facilitate risk assessment, a free and potentially life-saving assessment was made available at over 370 Tesco Pharmacies across the UK or through an online platform.

Participants who completed the assessment were provided with free advice and information to manage their risk.

Chris Askew OBE, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, highlighted the rising number of young men developing type 2 diabetes and emphasised the importance of managing weight, adopting a healthy diet, and engaging in physical activity to reduce the risk.

He stressed the significance of understanding the risk factors based on family history, ethnicity, and general health, as a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can be life-altering.

Askew said, “Getting a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is life-changing. Younger men have the chance now to make changes that could reduce their risk of developing the condition, and know how to help keep it at bay.”

Additionally, Jason Tarry, CEO, UK & ROI at Tesco, acknowledged type 2 diabetes as a prevalent health condition in the UK and emphasised the role of a healthy diet in risk reduction.

Tesco aimed to encourage individuals to assess their type 2 diabetes risk and understand the steps to mitigate it through their network of Tesco Pharmacy colleagues and the Better Baskets campaign promoting healthier food choices.

“Through our longstanding partnership with Diabetes UK, and our Better Baskets campaign, we’re committed to helping customers make healthier food choices and lead healthier lives” he said.

Despite the known benefits of increased fruit and vegetable consumption and regular exercise in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, the survey of 2,000 men indicated that a significant percentage fell short of the recommended levels.

Men identified breakfast as the meal in most need of a healthy makeover. Therefore, in support of customers’ healthier food choices, Tesco provided a collection of approved, healthy, and budget-friendly recipes through the Tesco Real Food website.

Analysis of NHS data conducted by Diabetes UK and Tesco in the previous year revealed a faster increase in cases of type 2 diabetes among those under 40 compared to those over 40.

However, the data showed that half as many men completed the Know Your Risk tool, launched in November 2022, compared to women.

Additionally, fear of potential outcomes posed a barrier to seeking professional medical advice among one in four men under 40.

Encouraged by these findings, Diabetes UK and Tesco called for younger men to act and become aware of their risk.

Registered cases of type 2 diabetes in the under-40 age group witnessed a 23% increase over five years, with Diabetes UK predicting the number of diagnosed individuals in this age group in the UK to reach 200,000 by 2027.

It was noted that the condition had more severe consequences in people under 40, potentially leading to complications such as kidney failure and heart disease.

The survey indicated a lack of awareness among men under 40 regarding the increased risk faced by white men over 40 and individuals from African-Caribbean, Black African, Chinese, or South Asian backgrounds from a younger age.

The risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, including family history, ethnicity, and obesity or overweight status, have made it clear that the condition should not be solely attributed to personal choices.

Social deprivation has emerged as a significant concern, as factors such as income, education, housing, access to healthy food, and limited healthcare accessibility have been found to contribute to an increased risk of various health conditions, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, individuals facing a higher risk often find it challenging to access the necessary support to manage their condition effectively.

Until recently, type 2 diabetes was relatively uncommon among individuals under 40 years old, leading to a lack of recognition for the associated symptoms among both the general public and healthcare professionals.

Diabetes UK strives to create a world where diabetes poses no harm, aligning with Tesco’s belief that affordable, healthy, and sustainable food should be accessible to all individuals, regardless of their circumstances.

Their partnership, established in January 2018, is part of a broader Health Charity Partnership involving Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, and Diabetes UK.

The collaboration aims to inspire, empower, and support Tesco’s employees, customers, and their families in making healthier food choices and living healthier lives.

Its goal is to drive measurable changes in behaviours that can lower the risks of cancer, heart and circulatory diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

The Know Your Risk tool, developed collaboratively by Diabetes UK, the University of Leicester, and the University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust, serves as a valuable resource.

However, it is not intended for individuals already diagnosed with diabetes but rather for those without a current diagnosis, providing an assessment of their risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next decade.

It is essential to note that the tool’s results do not constitute medical advice, and individuals at risk or with concerns about diabetes should consult healthcare professionals for further information.

The tool requires participants to be 18 years or older and may not provide accurate results for pregnant individuals or those with a history of gestational diabetes.

 

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