Dr David Crichton’s blog: Lifestyle changes can prevent diabetes

This is a transcript of my My View column that was published in the Doncaster Star on Monday 16 April, 2018

Today is the start of Diabetes Prevention Week, a national campaign to identify those people who might be on the borderline and develop Diabetes in the future.

I’ve been hearing about one of Doncaster’s biggest losers, who’s a real winner when it comes to reducing his risk of getting diabetes.

Shedding the stones – Darren with Rovers’ midfielder Matty Blair, who last night was named League One Community Player of the Year at the English Football League Awards

Just over a year ago, Darren Greaves, 32, weighed in at a massive 19st 2lbs, fuelled by a diet of greasy food and pizza and a sedentary job as a fork lift truck driver.

By his own admission, he had no energy, lacked confidence, felt lethargic and even the shortest of walks left him breathless.

That was before he signed up for an eight weeks course with Fit Rovers – run by Club Doncaster Foundation at Keepmoat Stadium – that marked the beginning of a complete transformation of his life.

Darren, from Rossington, is now a shadow of his former self, having shed over six stone through a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. His waist has shrunk by 10” – from 42” to 32” and he’s joined a gym. He’s changed his job to work at a local wood yard where he additionally enjoys being kept active by handling pieces of timber.

He caught the fitness bug after taking his daughter, Maddison, 9, to the Keepmoat and finding out about Fit Rovers, a lifestyle course funded by NHS Doncaster CCG to provide weekly exercise, diet and lifestyle advice sessions for local men, with plans to run sessions for local women at some point soon.

Darren has maintained his links with Fit Rovers having progressed to the veterans’ group, where he continues to attend their weekly keep fit sessions, which are rounded off with an hour of walking football on one of the Keepmoat’s artificial pitches.

He now has no trouble running constantly for 90 minutes, compared to a year ago when he would have been, in his words, “huffing and puffing” within a minute.

He also feels great, oozes confidence and has started eating – and enjoying – vegetables, something he would have quickly swerved in favour of a fry-up a year ago.

Darren is a fantastic success story of someone taking personal control. In making positive lifestyle changes he has cut his risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – which can be prevented by losing weight, eating healthily and being more active.

Making small changes to your lifestyle now can make a big impact on your future health – and having experts to help you make the right choices along the way can make it even easier.

You can find out if you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by:
· Answering a few simple questions on the ‘know your risk’ tool at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk
· If you’re aged 40-74, by taking up the offer of a free NHS Health Check to assess your risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other condition such as blood pressure.
· Ask your GP or practice nurse and they will check if you are eligible to be referred to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.