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New International Program Addresses the Diabetes Health Crisis

Two heads are better than one, or in this case, two countries can solve international health issues better than one. Students at De Montfort University in Leicester, United Kingdom are pairing efforts with City Collaborative, a nonprofit organization in Louisville, Kentucky, to find innovative solutions to help address the diabetes crisis. In Kentucky, diabetes directly impacts 12.5 percent of the population. Accounting for approximately 95 percent of diagnoses, Type 2 diabetes is a health crisis. Despite sharing similar dietary habits, however, residents of Leicester are diagnosed with diabetes at a rate of only 7 percent, which is actually higher than the average rate in the United Kingdom.

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As students and professionals try to ascertain the reasons for such a discrepancy, with reasons ranging from larger food portions in America to the differences in health care systems between the two countries, they share a distinct commonality: the desire to prevent and combat diabetes.

While in Kentucky, students from De Montfort University planned to visit local YMCA organizations and offer free diabetes risk assessments to local residents. Armed with an easy-to-use tablet and smartphone app that transforms a fairly arduous 25-minute undertaking into a simple process that takes mere minutes, students planned to help identify people at risk for diabetes and refer them to medical care. They also intend to offer advice to participants on lifestyle changes that can decrease the likelihood of developing diabetes.

Taking inspiration from the YMCA’s Y5210 program, the university students want to help children form healthy eating habits. One way to do this is by visiting schools and hosting assemblies to disseminate information. By starting young, participants hope they can zero in on preventative measures rather than treatment options. In January 2016, City Collaborative members will travel to Leicester to finalize an intervention plan with DMU students.

To better understand why doctors are diagnosing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes at an alarming rate among children, check out this article.

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