Berwick bridge is turning blue for charity

The Royal Border Bridge in Berwick. Picture by George Crawford
The Royal Border Bridge in Berwick. Picture by George Crawford

Berwick's famous Royal Border Bridge is among the North East landmarks turning blue to mark World Diabetes Day.

NHS England in North Cumbria and the North East is celebrating the success of a programme which is helping prevent Type 2 diabetes.

The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has referred over a quarter of a million people across the country and 8,294 people ‘at risk’ in the region have now been offered help.

Around 90 per cent of all people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to obesity, and there is strong evidence to suggest it is preventable. A lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight are all risk factors for developing the disease.

The prevention programme is designed to stop or delay onset of the condition through a range of personalised lifestyle interventions.

It is the first nationwide Type 2 diabetes prevention programme and the largest undertaking of its kind in the world for those at risk of the disease.

Dr Caroline Sprake, a GP at Lane End Surgery, Benton, Newcastle, one of the first practices offering patients a chance to join the programme, said: “The early signs are positive and people in the region that are at high risk of Type 2 can now get help through the prevention programme.

“It’s good to see that over 8,000 people have been referred already and attendance rates show that the programme is reaching those who need it most.”

“With so many people at potential risk of diabetes, it is fantastic we have a programme to support and help people make changes and there is so much more as a community we must do."

With millions of people at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in England, it’s essential that we do everything we can to prevent it before it develops and help people to live healthier lives. That’s why the work of the Diabetes Prevention Programme is so important.”

Across the country, more than half of overweight patients who routinely attend sessions on the programme achieve an average weight loss of 3.7kg and, encouragingly - in the North East and North Cumbria, around 50% of people are progressing from initial assessment to their first intervention session (the national average is 45%).

Those referred on to the face-to-face programme get personalised help, which includes education on lifestyle choices, advice on how to reduce weight through healthier eating and bespoke physical activity programmes, which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

A number of North East landmarks and buildings will be lighting up blue for World Diabetes Day.

The blue theme originates from the World Diabetes Day logo which is a blue circle, and in previous years, landmarks across the world have lit up blue.

Venues and landmarks confirmed include:

Berwick: Royal Border Bridge

Whitley Bay: St Mary's Lighthouse

Newcastle upon Tyne: Civic Centre

Gateshead: Millennium Bridge

South Shields: Town Hall

Sunderland: Magistrates Building, Keel Square

Middlesbrough: Centre Square fountain

Sunderland: Penshaw Monument (National Trust)

Durham: Lumley Castle Hotel

Darlington Memorial Hospital

Based on current population trends, by 2035, 4.9 million people will have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes currently costs the NHS £8.8 billion each year.

For information about the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme please visit: www.england.nhs.uk/diabetes and for WDD: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/get_involved/world-diabetes-day