Romford church and UEL team up for diabetes awareness project
- Credit: Archant
With obesity in adults and children continually rising, concerns abound not only as to the content of the food we are eating, and how active we are, but also to the medical conditions which can come on as a result.
One of the most serious is diabetes, which Diabetes UK calls “the fastest-growing health threat facing our nation”.
More than three million people in England have diabetes, and five million more are at serious risk of developing the Type 2 strand, according to the charity’s State of the Nation (England) report 2016.
The report adds that if trends continue, by 2034 one in three people will be obese, and one in 10 will develop Type 2.
In a bid to raise awareness of the condition, and the steps at-risk people can take, the University of East London (UEL) is organising a series of events in east London, in partnership with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Chapel of Courage, Mawney Road, Romford, Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation.
The campaign’s first session was held last month at St John’s Hall, Mawney Road, and five more are soon to follow.
Amina Dil-Mohamed, from the UEL public health team, told the Recorder: “It’s not really just about a fun day in the community, there’s a serious nature to what we are doing, in bringing diabetes awareness to the general public.
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“If people don’t know they have diabetes we can make them aware they do, and show them how they can manage their own diabetes.”
Support includes screening for risk factors, BMI measurements, free blood glucose and blood pressure checks and the distribution of educational materials.
Students from the university are involved, giving them the opportunity to “take what they learn into the community”, but the main aims are awareness, prevention and assessment of diabetes prevalence in the different boroughs.
“It’s the risk factor of the disease, what we can do to prevent the development of the disease,” said Dr Opeolu Ojo, from UEL’s School of Health, Sport and Bioscience.
“There’s a number of people who never thought something like that would happen to them. Some people, because of family history, need to know the risk may be there, and sometimes they know they have the risk but do nothing about it, they are complacent.
“Diabetes is a major issue and prevention is better than cure.”
Type 2 is much more common in those with South Asian, African or African-Caribbean heritage, so the team is hoping to reach out to these communities in east London.
And the project, funded by UEL’s London Scholars scheme, will not finish following the events: the researchers will take what they have learned and feed it back into their national and global work.
Advising residents on the steps they can take to reduce their risk, Dr Ojo said: “Make sure you are active and avoid junk food, cook so you know what you are eating. Smoking and alcohol can predispose people to develop the disease.”
People are also advised to make an appointment with their GP for further advice.
Ms Dil-Mohamed added: “What’s quite good having this is we have seen people who want to know the risks, who are interested in their general health.
“I just hope the community here has found it beneficial us doing this, it’s for them.”
The campaign’s next event will take place at The Salvation Army Hall, High Street, Romford, from 10am-4pm on Saturday.
For further information and advice on diabetes, visit diabetes.org.uk.