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Diabetes awareness championed among minority ethnic communities

Leaders of Black, South Asian and Turkish communities in London have been trained as Diabetes UK Community Champions to help raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes among people from minority ethnic communities at risk of developing the condition.

In white people Type 2 diabetes usually occurs over the age of 40, but black and South Asian people can get Type 2 diabetes from the age of around 25. Getting treatment early can reduce the risk of developing complications such as stroke, blindness, heart disease and amputations.

Spreading the word

Diabetes UK has worked in partnership with NHS Haringey on the Community Champions training courses, during which people from minority ethnic communities, health trainers, and religious and community leaders attend sessions about what Type 2 diabetes is, who is at risk, signs and symptoms, myths and misconceptions, complications and the NHS services that are available. After qualifying, the Community Champions spread the word about diabetes in their local communities by organising stands, talks and healthy living days.

Thirty three community leaders, nutritionists and NHS health trainers in Haringey have now qualified as Diabetes Community Champions and are keen to raise awareness at community events in Haringey. Several more training projects are planned in other parts of London.

Overcoming myths and misconceptions

"There is a real need to provide culturally relevant information about Type 2 diabetes for those people who may be at risk of developing the condition, or who are coping with diabetes in the family," said Juliet Enever, Diabetes UK’s North London Diverse Communities Officer. "There are particular myths and misconceptions about diabetes in some ethnic communities that can be directly targeted by our Diabetes Community Champions programme, with trained community leaders going out and about and giving people the truth about diabetes."

Dr Fiona Wright, Associate Director of Public Health, NHS Haringey, says: "Diabetes is a significant problem in Haringey. It is important to detect it early as it improves the patient’s experience of the long-term illness and helps reduce complications. We are very pleased to be working with Diabetes UK on this project."

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