Diabetes Prevention Programme cuts type 2 diabetes risk for hundreds in the Northern Trust

Six members of staff pictured with a Diabetes Prevention Programme pop-up banner.

“I feel fantastic and it’s all thanks to this programme!”

Lucie from the North Coast area is currently taking part in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust’s Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP).

She has spoken about the positive impact it has had on her health and wellbeing ahead of World Diabetes Day on November 14 2023.

Initially encouraged to join by her GP during ‘a very uncomfortable call’ where she learned she was at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Lucie is now half-way through the programme and is already noticing a vast improvement to her overall health.

One of the most common long term health conditions in Northern Ireland, type 2 diabetes can have a devastating impact on people and their families. It’s a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and many common types of cancer.

But while the prevalence of the condition continues to increase, the preventative programme is making a difference.

Data collated over a four-year period within the Northern Health and Social Care Trust has highlighted that 81% of pre-diabetic participants on the Diabetes Prevention Programme reduced their blood sugar levels and 74% lost weight.

Reflecting on her personal experience, Lucie said: “I have had raised blood sugar levels for a few years which I have tried to keep on top of with various crash diets and spurts of walking. Last October I had a very uncomfortable call from the doctor advising me that my blood sugar levels were now at the very top of the pre-diabetic range and he thought I would benefit from the programme.

“I imagine most people would be pleased to be offered such an opportunity but to be truthful I was cross and sulked and moaned until January when I tried to lose some weight myself, and dropped a couple of pounds.

“The letter inviting me to take part arrived in the spring and with very little grace I agreed to attend. My family and I had poor expectations, I had after all been morbidly obese most of my adult life. I knew what to do, I just never did it.

“I started the programme in May and I’m now halfway through. I report weekly steps and weight to Mark, my health coach. Some weeks I lose weight, some weeks I don’t but I don’t panic as I understand this isn’t a quick fix. It’s not a race nor a competition.  It’s a journey that I will be on for the rest of my life and it involves changing my mind set and behaviour, and I feel this is the strength of the programme. It provides sensible information, divided up in to sessions, and supports me along the way in a completely non-judgemental way so I can develop the skills to continue.

“I feel very fortunate to have Mark’s support, and to be part of the group who have made me laugh and enjoy the programme. The benefits have been far-reaching in our household, because my husband, who was also told he had pre-diabetic blood sugars, has lost weight and we have a very happy dog who gets more walks now than ever before!

“Now I’m starting the second half of the programme and I can say my blood sugar readings have dramatically improved – but how do I feel? Well how would you feel if your sleep wasn’t constantly disturbed by running to the loo or if you could go up a flight of stairs and not be short of breath? How would you feel if you lost four and a half stone since May? I feel fantastic and it’s all thanks to this programme.”

The Northern Trust’s Health and Wellbeing Manager Leesa Houston said: “We are very grateful to Lucie for sharing her story because it really helps to show what can be achieved through the Diabetes Prevention Programme.

“Our research indicates that 100s of people have been able to avoid developing type 2 diabetes, and the further health complications it can lead to, because of this early intervention.

“If your GP has told you that you are pre-diabetic this could be a life-saving programme for you. If you’ve been inspired by Lucie make this the month you take your first steps to better long-term health.”

For further information about participating on the Diabetes Prevention Programme within the Northern Trust please contact the team on 028 2563 5687 or visit the Diabetes Prevention programme webpage.

Pictured above are the Northern Trust’s Diabetes Prevention Programme Health Coaches Amy Elliott, Karen King, Mark McKane, Cherith Kane and Louise Crawford along with Health and Wellbeing Manager Leesa Houston (third from left).



10th November 2023

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