An award-winning lifestyle programme has been rolled-out across South London to educate people with type 2 diabetes, particularly those from ethnic backgrounds.
The Low Carb Program was implemented across the South East London Integrated Care Board (ICB) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Developed by DDM Health, the Low Carb Program is a nutritionally focused behaviour change intervention that provides education, resources and support to start and sustain a lower-carbohydrate diet.
Available in nine different languages, the app is used by people with obesity, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and polycystic ovarian syndrome, with the programme evidenced in seven peer-reviewed studies.
Most recently, the app was shown to provide equivalent weight loss outcomes to face-to-face multidisciplinary care.
Features on the app include a goal-focused, tailored education programme, peer coaching, a recipe library, cook-a-longs, live and on-demand activity classes and health tracking.
Approximately 1.9 million people live in South East London, which is a diverse area of mixed deprivation.
According to a year-long study, 83 per cent of people activated a Low Carb Program account after being referred, with 90 per cent of those completing the entire intervention.
More than 60 per cent of participants are from ethnic minority backgrounds and list English as a second language.
Data shows a -6.9mmol/mol HbA1c reduction and 6.2 per cent body weight loss after following the Low Carb Program for a year.  A reduction of 5 per cent of body weight has been shown to decrease joint pain, improve cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
One participant followed the Low Carb Program and said: “I would say that the Low Carb Program has proved to be a complete success. Over three months, my blood glucose HbA1c level is back to normative level. The follow up telephone discussions have been a great help and support. Thank you.”
Meanwhile one said: “I found the weekly group sessions very useful. When you are trying to lose weight and feel like you are not making progress on certain weeks, you get encouragement from the health coaches and fellow members.”
Another added: “I went for a blood test the other day and my HbA1c has gone down from 7.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent. I’ve also gone from 107kg to 91kg in five months.”
One participant said: “It made such a difference” to her confidence, while another stated: “I have successfully maintained my blood glucose level and weight loss over more than 12 months now.”
The project’s impact has led to the Low Carb Program’s outcomes being showcased to NHS England.
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