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Question time - students grill local MP on health issues

As part of Diabetes Week, students at Hampstead School, West Hampstead, have successfully hosted a ‘question time’ debate on health issues.

On Friday 15 June 2007, sixth-formers were able to put forward a variety of questionsto a panel which included Frank Dobson, MP for Holborn and St Pancras. 

The debate was centred on issues surrounding diabetes such as how to improve school meals, enabling young people to do more sports, managing diabetes in school and lobbying the government to ban junk food adverts to kids.

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The panel (pictured right) also included Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK; Libby Dowling, Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse and Care Advisor at Diabetes UK; Jacques Szemalikowski, Headteacher of Hampstead School; and Ahmed Ali, a Hampstead School student, who has Type 1 diabetes.

“This is a fantastic way to raise awareness and educate people about diabetes," said Douglas Smallwood.

"Diabetes is increasing in children and young people because of the rising obesity rate in the UK. Education is the key, making sure that young people know the risk factors of diabetes and that being healthy will decrease your risk of developing diabetes later on in life.”

Frank Dobson MP said, “I am delighted to take part in this debate. Diabetes is one of the main health challenges facing us today. Early recognition of the development of diabetes greatly enhances the prospect of successful treatment, so it is crucial to raise awareness of the condition. It is also refreshing to be able to debate with young people and to exchange views with them on health issues.”

The event was organised by one of the school’s students, Dean Puzey, 18, who is also a dedicated Diabetes UK volunteer. Dean has been working tirelessly to help raise awareness of diabetes since his sister Chloe, now 10, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2003.

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