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The NHS is turning to tech to help prevent Type 2 diabetes

The diabetes prevention programme will trial wearables, apps and online resources.
Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
November 16, 2017
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Last year, the NHS launched a diabetes prevention programme aimed at helping high-risk patients stop or delay the onset of full-blown Type 2 diabetes. NHS England has now announced that it's turning to tech for the second phase of the project, and will pilot the use of digital tools and wearables to further the programme's goal. Eight regions in the UK will aim to recruit over 5,000 patients in total over the next six months to take part in a year-long trial of new ways to tackle obesity and high blood sugar levels, both of which are common precursors to Type 2 diabetes.

Many of the resources on offer to participants revolve around promoting a healthier lifestyle to help bring blood sugar levels down. These include online personal coaching sessions, support groups, and various apps designed to help you set positive goals and achieve them. Some patients will also receive wearables as part of the programme. In one intensive six-week course by OurPath, a wearable will be paired with a smart weighing scale. A longer-term project will see participants wear Buddi's medical-grade Nujjer activity, sleep and eating tracker. The Nujjer wristband and app is specifically designed to decrease the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The NHS has thought about how activity tracking could be used to promote healthier lifestyles before, but this diabetes prevention programme is the first time wearables have been made available to NHS patients. Encouraging people to lead healthier lives can help prevent any number of illnesses developing, but wearable tech is becoming increasingly valuable in treating diabetes. Rumor has it a future generation of the Apple Watch could even include glucose monitoring functionality to help diabetics better manage their chronic condition.

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