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Changing your diet to reduce the risk of diabetes

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Advice from Dr Bal Bahia, vice chair of West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board

IT’S the time of year when diets are at the forefront of many people’s minds, however I am currently working with a family whose very lives depend on losing weight.

The young parents and their 10-year-old daughter visited me three months ago, when I found they were all at risk of
developing type 2 diabetes – which, as we know, can lead to many complications if not diagnosed and treated, but, which can be avoided.

I was pleased they felt able to see me to discuss their concerns.

This was an important first step and I know many patients prefer not to acknowledge the problem.

I measured and weighed all three of them and found their weights placed them in the ‘at risk’ category for diabetes which was one of their concerns but also for heart disease, joint pains and cancer.

We discussed this as a family dilemma and the parents acknowledged that pizzas and fizzy drinks were a family

The family agreed to keep an honest food diary and we discussed healthy eating.

They knew what they should be doing, as we almost all do.

To help them I showed them the Mediterranean diet which they could see on a website called patient.co.uk which reminds you about healthy diets but also gives you advice on portion sizes.

This latest appointment was the culmination of three months work.

I say ‘work’ because it was a hard time over Christmas and needed dedication and
commitment from the whole family.

I am thrilled to say that the family has lost weight and are all less likely to develop diabetes.

Mum and dad had both lost a stone each and their daughter was now nearing her optimum body mass index.

Most significantly, they all felt better, had more energy and were committed to keeping up their new healthy lifestyle.

I couldn’t have been prouder of them.

Almost all these problems are entirely preventable by keeping weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet and not smoking.

Locally, we have an Eat 4 Health service (0800 772 0630) to provide diet and exercise support.

The optimum BMI is 19-24 and to find this visit NHS choices and search for BMI.

I’d urge all readers to check their BMI and if it is of concern to consult their GP so they can reduce their risk of long-term serious health issues.

Currently just over four per cent of the West Berkshire population have diabetes.

Unfortunately this is expected to rise.

The NHS spends 10 per cent of its entire budget managing diabetes.

This column is brought to you through a partnership between the NWN, the Oxford Academic Health Science Network and your local West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board.
Eat 4 health : http://info.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=30892
NHS Choices Healthy weight: http://www.nhs.uk/tools/pages/
Berkshire West Diabetes http://www.berkshirewestdiabetes.org.uk/diabetics

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